The original soup calls for quinoa instead of couscous. But I got home from the grocery thinking I had quinoa, but alas...did not. Luckily I have a cabinet full of other grains. So tonight couscous it was. The recipe also called for soymilk, cilantro and lime, which I omitted. I wanted a lighter, broth-based soup rather than cream-based.
The shallots also caught my eye. I have a new appreciation for shallots ever since the sweet potato with carmelized shallot dish I made for the Fall Harvest House Dinner Party entry from October. The recipe also called for a red pepper, which I had promptly forgotten at work. So carrots made their way into the soup instead. My head has not felt attached to the rest of my body lately, so I was glad I had other ingredients to ad-lib.
I ate the soup alongside sauteed collard greens, from the half of a bunch leftover from the wraps from Tuesday night. So I made a balsamic and soy sauce reduction to drizzle over the greens. The recipe for that will appear another time. But wow was it good...nice, light and colorful!
Corn and Whole Wheat Couscous Chowder
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Makes 6-8 servings
3/4 cup whole wheat couscous, dry
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium red potato, diced into small cubes
2 medium carrots, diced
2 medium shallots, minced
2 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1-2 cups water
2 Tbsp dried parsley
Red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
Dash of ground cumin
Toast the couscous and cumin seeds in a saute pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until they become aromatic, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Add potatoes, carrots, shallots and corn. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Pour in vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and cover for 8-10 minutes. Add couscous and cumin seeds. Cover and allow couscous to cook 5 minutes. This will soak up a lot of water, so add 1-2 cups of water to increase liquid level. Add dried parsley, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and ground cumin. Stir well and allow to cook for about 5 more minutes. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Sprinkle extra parsley on top of each portioned bowl.
Serve as a starter soup, alongside sauted greens or with a big chunk of crusty bread.