When I had extra Meyer lemons to use up, I decided to preserve them. My intention was to try that famous Moroccan chicken dish with olives and preserved lemon. Well, life got in the way, and that has not happened yet. It will.

Something even better happened though! The Moroccan inspiration was definitely in mind one night when I threw together a last-minute meal for some friends. I had a beautiful leg of lamb that had to be eaten before we left for a trip, so I called some friends and said my friends’ favorite five words, “please, come eat my food.” That’s the kind of generous friends I have. In a pinch, they’re always ready to lend a helping stomach.  I needed a side-dish and out of my head popped Cous Cous with Kale and Preserved Lemon. Of course, having kale that I also wanted to use up guided my inspiration. The dish worked so well though that I immediately tried to replicate it when we got back from Sanibel and Captiva.

Cous Cous with Kale and Preserved Lemon 5

What I love about this dish is that the preserved lemon adds so much brightness and savoriness at the same time. The kale keeps some of its crunch. The little balls of cous cous roll about on your tongue. It’s fun to eat and healthy. As a side-dish, it would be insanely good with a crispy Roasted Chicken. I would also proudly serve this as a main course for a vegetarian or vegan as long as I provided some good protein in their appetizer.

I highly recommend making preserved lemon yourself because it’s so easy and is substantially less expensive. There are super easy-to-follow directions on Simply Recipes. It will take three weeks though, so if you just can’t wait to make this recipe, you can buy preserved lemon in middle eastern stores, on Amazon or at Williams-Sonoma.

*Cooking note: This recipe uses two pots at the same time. If you don’t feel up to watching both at the same time, complete the cous cous portion first and set it aside before starting on the kale.

Cous Cous with Kale and Preserved Lemon 6

Cous Cous with Kale and Preserved Lemon
~4 side servings

  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 cup dry Israeli cous cous
  • 12 cups torn green kale leaves (no stem) *use a salad spinner to dry after washing
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions –

1. Use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the preserved lemon. Discard the seeds. Press the pulp through and strainer and reserve the juices (you don’t get that much, don’t worry). Finely chop the rind. You can keep the rind in the same bowl as the juice. Set aside.

preserved lemon 2 finely chopped preserved lemon

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a small pot on medium heat. Stir in red onion and allow oil to coat. Add cous cous and stir allowing oil to coat. Add 1 1/4 cup vegetable stock with a pinch of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook covered until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on the cous cous. If the liquid dries up, add a tablespoon of water at a time as needed. You want it to be dry when it’s done though.  Whenever it is ready, just remove from heat and set it aside.

3. While cous cous is cooking, start heating the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large dutch oven or enameled cast iron pot over medium heat. Add kale with 2 pinches of salt and use tongs to toss. Add garlic and give another good toss with the tongs. Add 1/2 cup vegetable stock and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for 4 minutes.

4. Add preserved lemon rind and juices to the kale. Stir, cover, and cook for another 2 minutes. Cous cous should be done so stir the cous cous into the kale and continue to toss until any excess water evaporates. (*sometimes, there is no excess water. It depends on the kale.) Add salt and pepper to taste ( I only needed to add some freshly ground pepper but it will depend on how salty your preserved lemon is) and serve immediately.

*The dish will be best served right away but left-overs are still tasty.

Cous Cous with Kale and Preserved Lemon 10

posted by jessica at 09:55 AM Filed under African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.