Saturday, October 28, 2022: Shrimp and Pearl Couscous with Harissa; Easy Banana Bread
November 3rd, 2022 by Alex

Tonight I wanted to try another of The New York Times one pan dish recommendations and found this easy recipe for shrimp and pearl couscous with harissa. Harissa, a hot chili pepper paste with herbs and spices from northern Africa, is definitely the key ingredient for the dish and because it can be very spicy, I suggest going easy the first time you try the recipe. I also made sure to buy sustainable shrimp from Fresh Direct!

The recipe (with my modifications) is below:

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined*
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon harissa sauce (NYT calls for 3-4 tablespoons, but 1 was enough for me!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cup pearl couscous
  • 3-4 fresh garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves rough chopped (or left whole)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  1. The first step was to toss the shrimp with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of harissa (or less, if not a fan of spiciness…I added 2 teaspoons). I also took off the tails of the shrimp because who wants to chew on tails when they eat dinner?
  2. The next step was to sauté the diced onion in the olive oil and butter, until translucent.
  3. Then add the couscous, chopped garlic, and cumin and cook for 3-4 minutes, until couscous is toasted.
  4. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and cook until evaporated, scraping all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. If you like heat in your food, add another teaspoon (or tablespoon) of harissa and 2 1/2 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. There should still be a little bit of liquid.
  5. Add the shrimp to the couscous, pushing them under the surface a bit, and add the tomatoes. Increase the heat to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.
  6. Add the chopped basil (and more salt and pepper…and harissa if brave).

Serve in shallow bowls and enjoy!

For dessert, I needed something comforting (and cooling for my taste buds!) We had a couple of ripe bananas so I decided to make banana bars from an adjusted a recipe from WellPlated. They were surprisingly easy and disappeared very quickly.

  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted and cooled unsalted butter 
  • 2 tablespoons milk of choice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Mash the bananas and make sure this is exactly a cup. Stir in the sugar, cooled butter, milk, egg, and vanilla. Then in a different bowl mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt). Next, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine. Lastly, add in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the baking pan. Bake for 15- 20 minutes then cut into squares and enjoy!

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