North African Nosh
One dish, all the flavors.
For the adventurous home cook, the doorway to discovery is as close as the spice cabinet. It’s always open for exploration. Uncap a bottle or jar, and breathe deeply. You’re instantly transported to faraway places and times such as the spice souks of North Africa. For centuries, these historic marketplaces and bazaars have brought together spices from the world’s best growers and suppliers. Go there now, with Tunisian Chicken Couscous with Green Harissa as your guide and inspiration.
In North Africa, harissa is a favorite hot sauce that finds its way into all kinds of dishes. It’s actually a paste, reminiscent of gochujang though not fermented. Harissa is typically red and made with hot, smoked chile peppers and toasted spices. The green version in this recipe isn’t as hot and adds herbal or floral notes to the dish. You’ll find countless other ways to use harissa too, from a dressing on roasted veggies to a rub on chicken wings and drumsticks.
At the heart of many North African dishes is a spice blend called ras el hanout. There are infinite variations, some combining as many as 30 separate spices. The name means “head of the shop” — similar to “top shelf” — and ras el hanout represents the best of what a spice merchant has sourced and is selling. From India comes turmeric. From Sri Lanka, cinnamon. From Indonesia, white peppercorns. The result is a complex, full-bodied spice blend, not necessarily hot but well-balanced with a full flavor.
Tunisian Chicken Couscous with Green Harissa comes together quickly and easily in a Dutch oven or covered sauté pan. The recipe calls for Just BARE® boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but you can also substitute boneless, skinless breasts or chicken tenders. Serve over couscous, and garnish with a spoonful of the fresh green harissa. All the flavor? Absolutely. This North African crowd-pleaser is infused with discovery, globally connected but comfortable at home even as a weeknight family meal.