Monday, February 27, 2012

Sweet Potato with Israeli Couscous

I found this little sweet potato next to the pumpkin. I think I mentioned this to y'all already. It's weird to me that I keep finding root veggies and squash tucked in various places in the house. Was I trying to hide them from myself? Was I developing some sort of storage system that I don't actually remember any of the details of? I have no idea, really, but given that we've been low on produce lately (though you'll see that change in the next Saturday Spending), it's exciting when I find this kind of stuff hanging out awaiting rediscovery.

Because risotto has effectively become our home's "lazy meal," I did this in a similar style. I didn't use a normal broth, since I mainly was just looking for a spice combination in the broth and not a meat or veggie flavour. I feel like this worked out pretty well, and it nicely accented the sweet potato, in a way that doesn't rely on sugar to make the sweet potato have a place on the table (I guess y'all know I really do prefer the savory uses of this root). Hope you enjoy!

4 1"x1"2mm slices ginger (I got this out of my freezer, but you could use fresh or dried slices)
1 tablespoon dry cilantro (or a large sprig fresh)
1/4 teaspoon dried (or 1 teaspoon fresh) orange peel
10 peppercorns
1 star anise
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6-8 cups water

2 tablespoons each: butter, olive oil
1 tablespoon harissa or other hot sauce/paste
1 medium sliced red onion
salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic, sliced

1 1/2 cups couscous

1 sweet potato, roasted, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
5 sliced pickled cubanelle peppers (alternately, you could use fresh peppers, pickled jalapenos, whatever works for you)
salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado, diced

Tie up all the spices in cheesecloth or in a metal strainer. Put them and the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Remove spices and leave simmering. In a skillet over medium or medium-low heat, melt butter with the olive oil. Add in the harissa, onion and salt, and cook about 15 minutes. Add sliced garlic and cook another 5-10 minutes, until garlic begins to brown on edges and appear crispy. Stir in couscous and fry until it darkens slightly. Add in one cup of broth at a time, stirring. When pasta is nearly cooked (this takes about 5-6 minutes, and roughly half the broth), stir in sweet potato cubes and pepper slices, and cook until everything is heated through and pasta is cooked to your desired level of doneness. Serve with avocado cubes. Serves 2-4.

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