Merguez Sausage with Fennel and Couscous

This satisfying one-pot dish is a meal in itself. The spicy merguez--thin, long sausages made with lamb or beef--add tremendous flavor to any dish and serve as a great alternative to traditional pork sausages. Though this Moroccan-inspired recipe calls for harissa, a hot, red chili paste usually found in Middle Eastern markets, you can substitute the same amount of cayenne in a pinch.

Recipe courtesy of Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet by Padma Lakshmi, Copyright 2007 Weinstein Books; photography by Ditte Isager

Merguez Sausage with Fennel and Couscous

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    Ingredients

    1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon harissa paste
    1 teaspoon cumin seeds 2 cups chicken stock
    2 bay leaves 1/3 cup dried cranberries
    1 cup diced shallots 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
    1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 cup couscous
    8 1/2 ounces merguez sausage, cut into 1-inch-long pieces 1 teaspoon sumac
    2 cups chopped fresh fennel bulb (discarding green stalky tops)

    directions

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    • 1

      Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and bay leaves; stir, and then add the shallots. Stir-fry for 2 minutes and add the oregano.

    • 2

      Add the sausage and stir-fry for an additional 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the fennel and harissa. When grease starts to appear and the meat is dark brown, add the stock. Simmer for 2 minutes.

    • 3

      Add the cranberries and chopped dill. Pour in the couscous, stir well, and turn off the heat. Cover the pot immediately and let the dish steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

    • 4

      If the couscous is not soft and fluffy, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of boiling stock or water over it, cover, and steam for a few minutes. Be careful not to add to much water. The couscous should not be mushy. Garnish with the sumac. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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