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Turkey & Fall Vegetables in a Saffron-Scented Broth with Couscous

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.

Moroccan spices warm up leftover turkey in this vegetable braise. Couscous is traditionally served with harissa, a chile sauce. Instead, I use the Indonesian chile paste sambal oelek, which is a good substitute and available in Asian markets, or you can substitute a few shakes of a hot sauce such as Tabasco. This recipe is easily doubled.


  • Generous pinch saffron threads
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 3-inch long cinnamon stick
  • 1 fresh hot red chile (like a serrano), cored, seeded, and quartered
  • 3 cups Turkey Stock
  • 1 medium red onion, root end left intact, cut into wedges about 3/4 inch thick at the widest side
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 x3/4-inch sticks
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 x3/4-inch sticks
  • 1 cup peeled, diced butternut squash (1-inch dice)
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-1/2×3/4-inch sticks
  • 8 oz. plum tomatoes (about 2 large), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups diced cooked turkey (1/2-inch dice)
  • 1/4 cup golden seedless raisins
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. (1-1/4 cups) couscous
  • Sambal oelek (Indonesian chile paste) or hot sauce

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 630
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 100
  • Fat (g): 11
  • Saturated Fat (g): 5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Cholesterol (mg): 55
  • Sodium (mg): 980
  • Carbohydrates (g): 102
  • Fiber (g): 15
  • Protein (g): 33


  • In a dry, small Dutch oven over medium heat, toast the saffron for 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in the turmeric, cinnamon stick, chile, and stock; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, parsnips, and squash; continue simmering, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the zucchini and tomatoes, cover, and simmer until all the vegetables are just tender, about another 5 minutes (you may need to raise the heat to return the broth to a simmer). When the vegetables are tender, stir in the chickpeas, 1/2 tsp. salt, the turkey, raisins, and cilantro. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit covered until the last ingredients you added have been heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasonings if needed.
  • Meanwhile, make the couscous. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1-3/4 cups water to a boil, along with 1 tsp. salt and 1 Tbs. of the butter. Stir in the couscous, cover tightly, remove from the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut the remaining 1 Tbs. butter into small pieces and scatter them over the couscous. Cover and let sit for 3 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  • To serve, mound a large spoonful of the couscous into a shallow soup bowl and ladle the turkey, vegetables and broth over it. Serve with the sambal oelek on the side.  


Keep the vegetables chunky and about the same size so they’ll be done at the same time.


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Reviews (2 reviews)

  • SoCo18 | 11/30/2017

    Good but I didn't love it. I think there were too many competing flavors. A bit of a waste of saffron; it's so expensive!

  • zripple | 11/10/2010

    A comforting soup with exotic flavors. Perfect for a cold afternoon!

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