Monday, March 29, 2010

Couscous For One

About a month ago, when the storm called Xynthia passed through and knocked our power out, you may recall that we raided our neighbors' freezer. Actually, our neighbor called us and said to go over and take anything we wanted out of the freezer in their summer house (we have a key) as it would spoil otherwise. They live about forty minutes away and could not come down at all at that point.

All the ingredients (except the broth) for my couscous lunch. The vegetables have already been cooked.

Part of what was in the freezer was a package of merguez, those North African lamb and beef sausages typically used in couscous dishes. Ken cooked them and put them into the freezer to keep them. Since there were still some in there when he left on his trip, I decided to make myself a couscous while he's away.

I cooked some celery, a couple turnips, a few onions, and a bunch of carrots in a pot of chicken broth that we had in the freezer. I added some hot pepper, a bay leaf, some allspice, and fresh thyme and rosemary from our garden. When that was done, I made the couscous (tiny pasta that is the base of the dish), heated up the thawed merguez, and opened a can of chic peas.

A close up of the celery. French celery is sold nearly white and not so green. It's very tender.

It all came together wonderfully with a bit of harissa (hot pepper paste) for lunch on Saturday. I can't describe to you how wonderful all the vegetables tasted in their spicy broth. They were each perfectly cooked, tender but not at all mushy. The merguez was good, but it was almost superfluous, that's how good the veggies were.

Of course, while I'm only one person, I made enough for a couscous party for four. I ate couscous for lunch again on Sunday and I'll be eating couscous again during the week. And I'm looking forward to it!


  1. Mmm, maybe the power should go off more often. No pics of the finished dish?

  2. I love couscous and harissa.

  3. Your garbanzos look very chic, indeed! LOL You are more French than American these days!

  4. Walt

    Do you put cumin in your sauce ?

  5. Boy, does that sound good.

    I need to buy some harissa paste the next time I'm in France. it's a little had to find here.

  6. White celery? I'm jealous. The supermarkets in the UK insist on selling it green - I haven't seen proper white celery in years.

  7. That does look good. Want to make it again next weekend?

    Chris, you might have to go to San Francisco to find harissa. There's a store (or used to be one) on Mission at about 26th that has/had harissa and merguez.

  8. Guess I need to plan a trip to 'Frisco for some harissa! Maybe Trader Joe's in Atlanta has it.

  9. I like couscous and we have it often, usually with Moroccan dishes. I haven't had turnips in forty years or more. I didn't like them the last time I had them, but tastes change, I'll try them again one of these days.

  10. Ken, is it Samiramis at 2990 Mission? The awning says "imports of the middle east."

    I used Google maps for the intersection, and then started double-clicking on things. The miracle of the internet!

  11. I have this weird taste for Chickpeas in salads....

  12. cubby, no, sorry. I forgot!

    nadege, one of my favorites, too.

    chm, very chic, indeed!

    beaver, not this time, but why not?

    chris, it was good. And I see Ken gave you a lead on where to get harissa.

    autolycus, I never had it until I came to France. Green and hard as a rock in the US, too.

    ken, perhaps.

    evelyn, I bet they would.

    starman, they're so very good!

    evol, I don't think that's weird!


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