I got to appreciate the rich and exotic cooking of Morocco when I visited that country several years ago. The cuisine is amazingly varied, but it doesn't have to be complicated, as this recipe shows. Mergez is a thin, spicy North African lamb sausage available in specialty and butcher shops and by mail. Other spicy sausage such as chorizo, hot Italian sausage, or spiced poultry sausage can be substituted.
1-1/4 cups instant couscous
1-1/2 pounds mergez or other spicy sausage
1 medium to large ripe tomato, 8 to 12 ounces
1 4-ounce jar whole pimientos or roasted red bell peppers
20 oil-cured black olives, preferably pitted
1/3 cup packed fresh mint leaves
2 tsp ground cumin
Run the hot-water tap and put 3 cups hot tap water in a 2-quart saucepan over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the couscous, stir, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, for 4 minutes, stirring once or twice. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the couscous steam for 6 minutes. (Or put the couscous and 2 cups hot water in a microwave-safe container and cook on high power for 4 minutes, then let the couscous steam for 6 minutes.)
Meanwhile, put a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Cut the sausage into 4-inch pieces. Add the sausage to the skillet, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Turn once and cook for 4 minutes.
While the sausage cooks, trim the scallions and remove all but 1 inch of the green part. Halve the scallions crosswise, put them in a food processor, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Core and quarter the tomato. Quarter the pimientos. Pit the olives unless already pitted. Put the tomato, pimientos, olives, and mint leaves in the processor with the scallions and pulse several times until coarsely chopped and combined. 4 Put the steamed couscous in a mixing bowl and add the scallion mixture, cumin, and salt and cayenne to taste. Mix and fluff with a large fork. Transfer the couscous to the center of a serving platter and place the sausage around the edges.
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