Saturday, March 07, 2009

Couscous Paella

For many years, I had no idea what couscous is. I’d seen it written about in recipes. I’d seen photos of it illustrating recipes. But I couldn’t figure out what it was. A grain? A pasta? An exotic part of an animal? Okay, I was just kidding about that last one. Now, paella on the other hand, I absolutely love. Seafood. Spices. Rice. Yum! So what better way to be introduced to couscous than in a couscous paella?

The seasonings alone were enough to sell me on the recipe. Cardamom. Turmeric. And the colors! Red peppers. Pink shrimp. Yellow whatever the heck couscous is. Now I just happened to have a pound of peeled cooked medium shrimp in my freezer. The reason why I had a pound of peeled cooked shrimp in my freezer is a story for another time. But it had been hanging around in there since the holidays and was begging to be used.

I made some rather major changes in this recipe. I cut it in half to suit my 1 pound of shrimp. Most importantly, I substituted chicken broth for the vegetable broth. I just don’t like the taste of vegetable broth. I left out the peas. I’m not a big fan of peas. And I also omitted the toasted chopped almonds and the minced fresh parsley. I didn’t have any in the house and I didn’t feel like buying them for just a couple of tablespoons.

Because the shrimp was already prepared, this recipe came together really quickly. It smelled delicious while cooking and tasted even better when it was done. It was so good that when I needed a little snack before bed, I ate some straight out of the refrigerator! I couldn’t wait to taste it again the next day when the flavors had had a chance to mellow out.

Alas, it was not to be. I woke up the next day swollen and itchy. I was having an allergic reaction to something. It got worse and worse and I ended up at the doctor’s office. I don’t know what caused it. It could have been pollen from the Philadelphia Flower Show. It could have been the spices I used. Or maybe I’m allergic to couscous. Who knows? But I couldn’t risk it. No more Couscous Paella for me.

Verdict: Yum! This one’s a keeper!
Couscous Paella
(source: Taste of Home)

1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon canola oil
6 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cans (14 ½ ounces each) vegetable broth
2 teaspoons gound coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups uncooked couscous
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Lemon wedges

In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, sauté red pepper and garlic in oil for 2 minutes. Add onions; cook 2 minutes longer or until red pepper is tender.

Stir in broth and seasonings; bring to a boil. Add shrimp; cook for 2-3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Return to a boil. Stir in the couscous, peas and butter.

Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with almonds and parsley. Serve with lemon.

Yield: 8 servings

Recycle: oil bottle, vegetable broth cans, spice bottles

Compost: pepper seeds and veins, garlic skins, green onion stems, parsley stems

1 comment:

Katy said...

This looks positively delish! It's going on my absolutely must-try list.