Many years ago, I went to the Saxton's River Inn with my Aunt Rae during one of my many visits to her in Vermont.
étit or Gourmet Magazine asking for the recipe.
Except that day. That day, they had an African Peanut Soup on the menu. Needless to say, I was intrigued, and ordered it.
I have made this soup countless times since that day 30-some years ago. I still love it, and that is why I couldn't resist when I saw today's recipe for Togolese Couscous with Peanut Butter.
Now, I am not Moroccan, and have only been to Morocco once, and this isn't a traditional Moroccan couscous. And that's okay.
Ms. Morse has taken a traditional couscous on a little visit to the West African nation of Togo. It is one of many West African countries that make a version of Peanut Soup.
The joint venture of this cultural mash up ends with an amazing dish, satisfying every comfort craving I could have. It is one of those dishes I could not stop eating.
I made a few changes, the most major of which was using only boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The recipe calls for chicken legs and thighs, which have the bones and skin. For ease of dining and reduction of fat, I prefer skinless and boneless chicken. The bones do add flavor, but I can boost that in other ways.
|My friend, Hassan, with the hand of his cousin, Lachsen. (1992)|
|The view form the room in which I stayed in the High Atlas Mountains. (1992)|
Kitty Morse, from Mint Tea and Minarets
1 chicken bouillon cube, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tomatoes, seeded and coarsely diced
1 medium onion, coarsely cubed
2 1/3 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup couscous
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup (4 ounces) dry roasted peanuts, chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
In a large bowl, mix crushed bouillon cube, ginger, and pepper. Coat chicken pieces with the mixture and set aside.
In a blender, pulse half the diced tomato, onion, and 1 cup broth until smooth. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on both sides. Add reserved tomato-onion mixture. Cover and cook until sauce comes to a brisk simmer, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, peanut butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Lower the heat to medium. Continue cooking, covered, until chicken is tender - about 20 minutes (30-35 if bone in). If sauce becomes too thick, dilute with a few tablespoons of water or broth.
In a medium saucepan, bring remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon oil to a boil. Add couscous and stir once. Cover tightly and remove from the heat until couscous is tender - about 5 minutes. Add butter and fluff with a fork. Mound couscous in the center of a tagine. Surround with the chicken pieces and top with peanut sauce. Garnish with chopped peanuts, remaining tomatoes, and sliced scallions.