Thursday, 26 September 2013

Smoke Signals

Couscous con Peperone, Menta, Tahini & Paprika Affumicata
Mint & Pepper Couscous with Tahini & Smoked Paprika

Now, if I could send smoke signals regarding this little meal, they would simply say "come and get it!"- because the smoked pimento paprika I used, along with my favorite Ras el Hanout, just transformed this otherwise simple bowl of couscous into something really delicious!

Things are getting slightly critical now... just one more night (tomorrow), before I leave on vacation- and I want to empty out my fridge as usual before I go- haha! On top of that, I got home rather late and was not really in the mood for a lot of stress or anything too complicated. And there they were, a handful of mini bell peppers in red, orange and yellow.. waiting to meet their doom! But also waiting to be my salvation in this supper!

This was a simple dish to make and I went abut it like this. I cut the peppers in half, removed the seeds and cut them into thin slices. These went into my frying pan with a little sesame oil and about 12 of finely chopped ginger. I sautéed them for 3-4 minutes until they began to brown and then added a tablespoon of Ras el Hanout, a little crushed garlic, a pinch of cayenne and of course salt and pepper. I stirred these in and continued frying for a minute or so, then deglazed the pan with enough water to cover everything.

I let the water boil away for a minute or so, so that all of the flavors from the bottom of the pan began to mingle into the pepper, then sprinkled the pan with couscous, until it was mostly covered. 

Next I added a good handful of finely chopped mint and chives and a teaspoon of the delicious smoked paprika powder, which immediately turned the couscous a lovely deep, yet mild orange color. I adjusted the seasoning, added the juice of 1 lemon, a tablespoon of sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of tahini and stirred everything together again thoroughly. I added a little splash more boiling water, just to keep it moist, a handful of raisins, a handful of basil leaves which I tore into slightly smaller pieces, then put on the lid and allowed it to continue fluffing up in the residual heat.

5 minutes later, it was ready to serve and full of strong, rich flavor- and pretty terrific! Not the most complicated or refined of dishes, but perfect for after work on a weekday night... and even more so for emptying out the fridge in a sensible way! And more than anything, full of a mild but rich and smokey flavor which is pretty out of this world! And one that I hope you will enjoy too!

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