Hesitantly, I turned over the bag of couscous, searching for the expiration date. Ah, yes, it should have been eaten long ago. Tonight, I resolved: we will eat it tonight.
I found a recipe in a cookbook, but I was missing about half of the ingredients and didn’t have time to run to the store. Normally, I wouldn’t tamper with a recipe’s key ingredients-especially spices or other seasonings because it is too easy to upset the delicate chemistry of a good recipe. Synergistic Surprise is not for me.
But this recipe called for a couple of items, other than the couscous, that had been in the cabinet/fridge too long, and I knew that AC was looking for original couscous recipes, so I decided to experiment a little.
The result was a lively, versatile recipe:
Ingredients for the sauce:
3 tbsp. of olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tbsp. of tomato purée
2 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
a few dashes of crushed red pepper
1 tbsp. of curry powder (or more, to taste)
1 med. or large tomato (halved and then sliced)
1 14 oz. can of chick-peas, drained and rinsed
2-3 med. carrots cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup of broccoli, cut
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
Ingredients for the couscous:
1 lb. couscous
2 tbsp. butter (I used Smart Balance.)
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
2 cups water
Directions for sauce:
Warm the olive oil in a large skillet; then add the onion and the garlic and cover. Cook over low heat until the onion is soft. Then stir in the tomato purée, garlic powder, turmeric, cumin, red pepper, and curry powder. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms and enough water to halfway immerse the vegetables.
Bring to a boil. Then simmer over very low heat for 10-12 minutes (less if you prefer crunchier veggies). During this time, taste the sauce and consider adding more curry to make it spicier or to balance the slightly bitter flavor of the turmeric.
Directions for couscous:
Combine the oil, salt, and water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the couscous, and stir for one to two minutes. Then add the butter. Stir over very low heat until the couscous is thoroughly warm.
Put the couscous in a serving dish and pour the sauce on top or serve side-by-side. Serves 4-6.
• Leftovers: Reheat the sauce thoroughly but do not reheat the couscous. It will absorb heat from the sauce and vegetables. Couscous can also be served cold.
• I chose the vegetables above because they were handy. The second time I made this recipe, I chose different veggies, and it worked just as well.
• Cover the skillet when you’re not stirring.