Photo: Rachel Weill; Styling: Dan Becker
YieldsServes 6 to 8
AuthorJoanne Weir
Time: 2 1/2 hours. A fragrant, brothy pile of chewy couscous, spicy vegetables, and tangy-sweet onions: Move over, turkey!

How to Make It

Step 1
1

Make caramelized onions: Put onions in a large frying pan with 1/2 cup water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until softened, about 30 minutes. Remove cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onions are golden. Increase heat to medium-high, add olive oil, and cook, stirring, until deep golden. Meanwhile, soak raisins in hot water 15 minutes; drain.

Step 2
2

Stir in spices and honey; then stir in raisins and cook, stirring, until nutty brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Step 3
3

Make couscous and vegetables: Halve carrots and zucchini; cut into 1 1/2-in. pieces. Halve jalapeño (seed it if you want less heat). Peel and quarter turnips. Peel and seed squash; cut into 1-in. chunks.

Step 4
4

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. salt, the pepper, saffron, cumin, and cinnamon sticks and fry, stirring, 1 minute. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add carrots, turnips, and jalapeño and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Add squash and zucchini and cook, covered, until all vegetables are soft but not falling apart, about 20 minutes.

Step 5
5

Transfer 2 cups hot stock from vegetable pot to a 4-qt. saucepan. Add 1 cup water and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, stir in couscous, and cook, covered, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

Step 6
6

Transfer 2 cups stock from vegetable pot to a pitcher and stir in harissa to taste.

Step 7
7

Spread couscous on a platter, making a well in the center. Using a slotted spoon, arrange vegetables, including cinnamon sticks, in the well; discard jalapeño. Scatter onions on top and sprinkle with cilantro. Moisten the couscous with some stock and strain the rest into a second pitcher. Serve couscous and vegetables with the two stocks (plain and spicy) on the side.

Step 8
8

*Buying cubed butternut squash will save you some time. Harissa's heat level varies wildly depending on the brand, so taste before adding.

Step 9
9

Make ahead: Up to 1 day. Finish making all five components of the dish—caramelized onions, vegetables, couscous, harissa-spiked stock, and plain stock—and chill separately. Ten minutes before serving, reheat in a microwave and serve as directed.

Step 10
10

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Ingredients

  Caramelized Onions
 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
 3/4 cup golden raisins
 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1 tablespoon honey
  Couscous and vegetables
 3 to 4 medium carrots
 3 medium zucchini
 1 jalapeño chile
 4 small turnips
 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash*
 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1 teaspoon saffron threads
 3/4 teaspoon cumin
 2 cinnamon sticks
 7 cups reduced-sodium vegetable stock
 2 cups pearl (also sold as Israeli) couscous
  About 1 tsp. harissa*
 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

Step 1
1

Make caramelized onions: Put onions in a large frying pan with 1/2 cup water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until softened, about 30 minutes. Remove cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onions are golden. Increase heat to medium-high, add olive oil, and cook, stirring, until deep golden. Meanwhile, soak raisins in hot water 15 minutes; drain.

Step 2
2

Stir in spices and honey; then stir in raisins and cook, stirring, until nutty brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Step 3
3

Make couscous and vegetables: Halve carrots and zucchini; cut into 1 1/2-in. pieces. Halve jalapeño (seed it if you want less heat). Peel and quarter turnips. Peel and seed squash; cut into 1-in. chunks.

Step 4
4

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. salt, the pepper, saffron, cumin, and cinnamon sticks and fry, stirring, 1 minute. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add carrots, turnips, and jalapeño and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Add squash and zucchini and cook, covered, until all vegetables are soft but not falling apart, about 20 minutes.

Step 5
5

Transfer 2 cups hot stock from vegetable pot to a 4-qt. saucepan. Add 1 cup water and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, stir in couscous, and cook, covered, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

Step 6
6

Transfer 2 cups stock from vegetable pot to a pitcher and stir in harissa to taste.

Step 7
7

Spread couscous on a platter, making a well in the center. Using a slotted spoon, arrange vegetables, including cinnamon sticks, in the well; discard jalapeño. Scatter onions on top and sprinkle with cilantro. Moisten the couscous with some stock and strain the rest into a second pitcher. Serve couscous and vegetables with the two stocks (plain and spicy) on the side.

Step 8
8

*Buying cubed butternut squash will save you some time. Harissa's heat level varies wildly depending on the brand, so taste before adding.

Step 9
9

Make ahead: Up to 1 day. Finish making all five components of the dish—caramelized onions, vegetables, couscous, harissa-spiked stock, and plain stock—and chill separately. Ten minutes before serving, reheat in a microwave and serve as directed.

Step 10
10

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Pearl Couscous with Fall Vegetables and Caramelized Onions