Sunday, 23 March 2014

Cooking-Up a Rainbow!

Couscous con Pancetta, Verdure & Paprika Affumicata, Piccante
Couscous with Bacon, Vegetables and Spicy, Smoked Paprika

Sometimes, you can work too hard at making a delicious meal. You can get sidetracked from the most obvious and important aspect of preparing food- that often, the ingredients we use have so much flavor of their own that we really do not need to do much more than combine them correctly...

Which is very true of this quick and tasty meal here! I am sorry for those of my Vegan and Vegetarian friends out there- but yes, I did indeed add a good handful of bacon to this otherwise perfectly vegetarian dish- haha! For sure it would have been really good without... but with the bacon added- it made ME much happier this evening! As I said- it is all about using the individual ingredients own flavors... mmm! Bacon!

I would love to claim that this only took 5 minutes to prepare... which it didn't... but the truth of the matter is- it didn't take that much longer either!

To make it, I boiled up some water, ready for the couscous later and started off with the bacon, a generous handful, finely diced, which I popped into a non-stick frying pan to get going. In the meantime, I grated about 1" of ginger and a half clove of garlic and added these, along with a small onion, finely diced. 

Whilst they were starting to brown and the bacon was beginning to crisp up, I quickly sliced a half stick of celery, and a small, mini bell pepper each in red, yellow and orange. These went into the frying pan next, along with a little salt and pepper. I stirred them together well and got back to my vegetables... what was next? Ah, yes- those string beans!

I added the beans and a little drizzle of olive oil, stirred them in well, let them fry for just a minute or so and then deglazed the pan with enough boiling water to cover the base of the frying pan by an inch or so. 

Whilst that was all bubbling away nicely, I finely chopped a good handful of fresh parsley  and then added it, along with 2 cups of couscous into the steaming and bubbling frying pan.

I stirred the couscous in well, added the juice of half a lemon, a little more olive oil, stirred everything thoroughly and turned off the heat. On went the lid and off I went to quickly set the table... by now, all of the real "work" had been done.

By the time I got back to removing the lid 5-10 minutes later (there is no need to hurry!), the couscous was nice and fluffy, all of the moisture and juices had been absorbed and the vegetables were well cooked but with plenty of bite- just perfect! Well... not quite!

Perfection came when the meal was served up with a nice sprinkle of spicy and delicious, smoked paprika powder- I just love that stuff! Especially in this dish, where all of the other vegetables are so sweet, the smokiness of the paprika along with the salty bacon just went So well! Nothing else was needed and as simple as it was, it was a delicious plate of food... and so colorful! A rainbow indeed and a rainbow of flavor!
My favorite kind!

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