So here’s the deal: it’s hot. Like, “accidentally” add another jalapeno or two and suddenly it becomes unbearable kind of hot. I know, because that’s exactly what I did.
I made this dish once using a store-bought Moroccan spice rub mix, and my wife and I absolutely loved it. Wanting to recreate it for the blog without a hard-to-find spice mix, I made it again, but with a from-the-cupboard blend of spices and more jalapenos. I ended up eating that batch on my own because my wife refused to touch it. I had made it so hot that to her it was simply unmanageable.
Not knowing whether it was the spice blend or the jalapenos that had been the dishes undoing, I couldn’t in good conscience post the recipe, decreasing one or both of the spicy variables, and just hope it didn’t turn out too hot. At the same time, it’s just too damn delicious of a recipe to not share. So, for the third time in a week, I made it again. I’d joke that it was a sacrifice, but it’s so good, I can’t even pretend it was any sort of hardship.
Seeing as prawns aren’t always the cheapest (even when frozen), I opted to leave them out – but doubled the amount of chorizo – and adjusted the number of jalapenos. Even with the extra chorizo subbed in, the spice was levelled out to a very satisfying level. Happy to know now that it was the jalapenos and not the spice blend that tipped the scales into “too hot for my white ass” territory, I can now very happily share the recipe with you below.
Now, if you’re either a masochist or just honestly love super spicy food, go ahead and add that extra jalapeno or two. If you dislike prawns or don’t want to “shell” out the money for them (I’m hilarious, I know), doubling the chorizo instead is another tasty option. Either way, you’ll still end up with something absolutely delicious. In fact, I should point out that the pictures I’ve included are from my super-spicy version I made, so you’ll notice much more jalapeno lurking around compared to what you’ll see when you make the toned down version with only a single pepper.
Lastly, I should point out my inspirations: the spice blend is simply Epicurious’ Moroccan Spice Blend with turmeric added in, and the general recipe is from The Mediterranean Dish.
Okay, enough blurbing – on to the recipe!
Spicy Moroccan Couscous with Chorizo and Prawns
- 340 g. frozen prawns (cooked, peeled, deveined), defrosted
- 250 g. chorizo sausage
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 340 g. (1 2/3 cups) uncooked couscous
- water (3 1/3 cups boiled plus additional at room temperature)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric
- minced flat-leaf parsley, to taste (optional)
- In a braiser or Dutch oven*, heat a tbsp. of olive oil over medium. Toss in the chorizo sausages, drop the heat to low-medium, and cook for around 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until both sides are browned.
- Toss in a cup of water, cover, and turn the burner back up to medium. Let cook for about 7 minutes, until cooked through. Remove to a cutting board, let cool for a few minutes, then slice into bite-sized pieces.
- Pour any excess water out of the braiser, return to medium heat and add in another tbsp. of olive oil. Toss in the onion and jalapeno and sauté for around 5 minutes, deglazing with small amounts of water if things start to stick or colour too quickly.
- Add in the garlic and sauté another minute.
- Dump the spices overtop, stir well to incorporate, and cook for another 2 minutes, turning down the heat slightly and/or deglazing with more water if necessary.
- Return your sausage to the braiser, add in the shrimp as well, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add in the couscous and give everything a big stir. Stir in the 3 1/3 cups of boiling hot water, then remove from heat and cover.
- After 5 minutes, remove the lid, and season to taste with salt. Stir in a small amount of parsley to taste, then serve hot.
*Tradionally, Moroccan couscous is made in a tagine, but I don’t happen to own one and therefore my times and temperatures reflect use of a braiser or Dutch oven. Obviously using a tagine is the preferred method, but slight adjustments to time, temperature and volume of water may necessary to arrive at the desired result.