Tunisian Couscous With Fennel, Red Peppers and Garlic

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“A Paula Wolfert recipe. The melange of dill and fennel, celery leaves, red pepper flakes, and spices makes for a light and delicious couscous. Since this type of couscous tends to be slightly dry, you may want to serve it with glasses of buttermilk, the traditional way. I adapted the recipe to make without a couscousier.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Wash the greens under running water. Drain and roughly chop. Wash and chop the scallions and leeks. Steam greens, scallions, and leeks, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, uncovered. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess moisture and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a 10- or 12-inch skillet and add the onion. Cook 2 to 3 minutes to soften, then add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste glistens. Add the crushed garlic, paprika, salt, coriander or tabil, caraway and red pepper flakes and cook slowly until the mixture is well blended. Add 1 cup water, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir the dry couscous into the contents of the skillet and stir until well blended. Stir in the steamed greens, leeks and scallions and mix well. Fold in the green chili, red pepper and garlic cloves. Add 1c water, cover & cool on low for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn out the couscous onto a large, warm serving dish. Use a long fork to break up lumps; fish out the whole garlic cloves and red pepper slices, reserving them. Stir 1 cup water into the couscous, taste for seasoning, and cover with foil. Set it in a warm place for 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Decorate the couscous with the red pepper slices in a star pattern and place the whole garlic cloves on top. Serve with glasses of buttermilk.

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