Do normal people get food obsessions, or is this strictly the realm of food bloggers and their equally food-centric partners? Ever since Tobias read about the North African sausage merguez in Marcus Samuelssons's The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa, he has been constantly talking about finding and eating some of it. Several times, he's said "I really feel like having merguez for dinner tonight", despite the fact that he's never tried it. I wouldn't have been surprised if one day he came home from work with plane tickets to Tunisia to go there and hunt down the merguez, that is how intent he was on trying it.
Today, while at the Village Butcher looking for something to put on the grill for dinner, he was delighted and I was relieved to find that they produce merguez sausage inhouse. We bought four, assuming (correctly) that the kids wouldn't be too interested in this spicy and unusual sausage.
Inspired by the merguez' North African roots, I rummaged through my pantry to find an old package of couscous that I bought ages ago, but keep forgetting to use. It was actually Israeli couscous, which I prefer to normal couscous, and here is how I cooked it.
Israeli couscous with nectarines
250g Israeli couscous
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1/2 nectarine, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, then add the onion and sautee until golden. Add the couscous and stir to coat, then add the chicken broth and the parsley and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for ten minutes. Stir in cumin, salt and pepper and nectarine.
I also picked a few things from the garden to go with the sausage. Tobias put the zucchini on the grill along with the merguez, and I cooked up the beans and chard.
The merguez was tasty, with what Tobias called a "slow burn". I'd be interested to try a more authentically-sourced version to see how close the Village Butcher got with their rendition. I could have used a bit more flavour other than just heat.
With a spicy sausage, I don't like to drink to any sort of wine where the nuances of the flavours really matter. It's the perfect time, therefore, for a little El Torito, a tempranillo/garnacha blend that also happens to be the cheapest wine available in Canada that is actually enjoyable to drink. I picked up this bottle at Everything Wine (more about that place soon) this week and the cashier actually did a doubletake when she saw the price, CDN$7.99. Hoorah for El Torito!
Here is the end result: merguez and couscous with veggies and El Torito. A quick, easy, and tasty Saturday night dinner for two. And hopefully the end of my spouse's merguez obsession.