Main, Meat, Non-Vegetarian, Pasta & Grains, Poultry, Seafood
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Couscous Paella

If you know me, you know I’m not really a reality TV show enthusiast.  Not to say I haven’t watched reality TV, I definitely followed a couple of the MTV ones back in the day *shrug*.  But now, not so much.  The only reality TV I do follow are the cooking shows.  I started out watching Top Chef and then after a few seasons I stopped mainly because I didn’t have cable for 3-4 years.  Then I got cable again and I started to watch Chopped.  That was the show that introduced me to Marcus Samuelsson who was a frequent judge.  He seemed like he was always the level-headed one of all the judges and didn’t blatantly cause a scene for entertainment value.  Then I stumbled on another show called ‘The Taste’, where Marcus is a mentor/judge, which I now religiously follow!  If you love food/cooking- I highly recommend this show!  Contestants have literally one spoonful to prove their culinary prowess- really interesting stuff.  My husband, Suril, and I find ourselves almost always rooting for Marcus’ team too!

Couscous Paella

So naturally when we heard he was coming to DC to talk about his new book at Sixth & I synagogue, we had to go! We bought a copy of the book and listened to Marcus talk about the book, his childhood and life in the culinary world.  It was super enjoyable and I gotta say- he was as humble as he seems on all his shows! I didn’t know much about the book to be honest, but once I got a copy I was so impressed with the vast array of recipes.  From simple, to complex.  From street food to a mish mosh of different cuisines.  It has quickly turned into one of my favorite cook books!  

I decided to share one of the recipes I made recently from the book.  Suril and I decided to make this a joint effort. He helped pick out the recipe for Couscous Paella and assisted me with the ‘Mise en place’.  The Paella was super tasty and I have to say- Harissa might be my new favorite condiment.  Marcus’ book offered up a delish Harissa recipe that I’ll share in my next post.  If you don’t want to go through the pains of making it, I hear Harissa is available for purchase at grocery stores.  In any case, this was a hearty meal perfect if you want to serve a small group of people who enjoy meat & seafood!

Couscous Paella
Serves 4
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
  1. 4 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1/2 lb chorizo (I substituted with chicken sausage)
  3. 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs - cut into 1 inch cubes
  4. 1 lb shrimp, deveined with shell or tail on
  5. 1 medium red onion - thinly sliced
  6. 1 red bell pepper - chopped
  7. 2 garlic cloves - crushed
  8. 1- 8 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  9. 1/4 cup harissa (recipe to follow in next post)
  10. 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  11. 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  12. 1 1/2 cups couscous
  13. 1 cup chicken broth
  14. 1 cup water
  15. 1 lemon - juiced
  16. 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  17. 1 Tbsp chopped mint
  1. Heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skilled over medium heat.
  2. Add chorizo/sausage, chicken, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook until onion & pepper start to soften and chicken starts to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add roasted peppers and harissa and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, couscous, broth & water and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the shrimp, pushing it into the couscous. Cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and let the apella sit for 10-15 minutes to absorb liquids.
  8. In a separate bowl, combine 1 Tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro & mint.
  9. Serve paella in bowls and drizzle the oil/lemon juice sauce on top.
  1. - My shrimp didn't cook as quickly as the book said, so cook for additional time if your shrimp hasn't cooked the whole way through.
  2. - I highly recommend a DEEP skillet that is at least 12" wide. I didn't have one and had to transfer the contents half-way through to a large pot.
  3. - Before adding the harissa to your dish, check to see how spicy it is. The harissa I made was hardly spicy so I felt I needed a 1/4 cup's worth. If you find your harissa too spicy- adjust the amount accordingly for the paella.
Adapted from Marcus Off Duty : The Recipes I Cook at Home
The Full-time Foodie

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