Start the couscous first, because it takes a while to prep. Mix salt and olive oil into the grains slowly, allowing all the liquid to be absorbed. Repeat this process with hot water. Let this sit for about 45 minutes while you prepare the veggie stew.
Anyway, this is basically a vegetable stew served with couscous and fish. The stew part is pretty easy to make -- just onions and tomatoes stewed together with a spicy element (the recipe calls for harissa but we're fresh out, so I just combined some different hot sauces from my pantry.) Add in chopped potatoes, carrots, salt pepper and some water and continue cooking until the veggies start to soften a bit.
Layer in squash, green peppers, cumin, cooked chickpeas, more water, and whatever other veggies you have in your house.
Bring your stew to a simmer and create the couscousiere -- you can sort of make one with a strainer on top of your stock pot, lined with cheesecloth, in which you put the couscous in a layer to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Wrap dishtowels around the outside of the strainer so that the steam from the lower pot is forced to go through the couscous instead of escaping around the pan. Once the steam is coming through the grains, cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the cousous from the pan and add salted water again, allowing the grains to absorb the liquid before putting them back in the top of the couscousiere for another 20 minutes.
The fish can be steamed quickly on the stove top with a little of the liquid that was reserved from the stew. I kept mine warmed in the oven until it was time to eat.
This was good, but nowhere near as good as I wanted it to be for the amount of time it took to make it.
Maybe if I had a couscousiere, all would have been different. Sigh...
garbonzo beans -- $2.39
tilapia steak -- $4.90
potato -- $1.01
onion -- $.92
CSA tomatoes -- $1.97
CSA squash -- $3.29
Total Cost of North African Fish Couscous: $14.48
($3.62 per serving)