Jollof Couscous

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors (yellow, orange, green, red, chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique, distinctively fruity flavor. It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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Serves: 4

2 cups instant couscous
2 cups chicken broth
1 small bell pepper or ½ large bell pepper
1 habanero pepper (omit if you do not like spicy food)
½ onion, finely diced
4 tbsp oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chicken bullion
½ tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste

Blend the bell pepper and habanero pepper till it is smooth and set aside.

In a deep pan on medium heat, heat up the oil for about a minute, and saute the onions until it is translucent. Add in the tomato paste and keep sauteing for two minutes or until the tomato paste is mostly broken down. Be careful not to burn the tomato paste (turn down the heat if you need to).
Add in the blended peppers, and keep sauteing the mixture until most of the water is evaporated, and the sauce resembles a loose paste (approximately 5 minutes).

Stir in the bullion, thyme and bay leaf and saute for another minute.

Pour in the broth, and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. At this point, taste the sauce for salt and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Take the sauce off the heat and immediately pour in the couscous. Stir to make sure the couscous is covered in the sauce, cover, and set aside.

Let the couscous sit in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then fluff the couscous gently with two forks to distribute the mixture evenly.

While the couscous is still warm, you can fluff in green onions and grape tomatoes with it to add in extra freshness.