Recipe by Andrea Slonecker, Chef Instructor, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Portland
Serves 4 – 6
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp Cherry Country dried cherries
3 tbsp toasted pistachios
2/3 cup couscous
Sausages and Sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
4 Sexton Ranches lamb sausages
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup julienned fennel, fronds reserved for garnish
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2/3 cup chicken, beef, or lamb stock
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp harissa paste (can substitute a pinch of dried red pepper flakes)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
For the couscous, bring the stock, salt, and turmeric to a boil. Meanwhile, combine the dried cherries and pistachios in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the couscous over top so that the cherries and pistachios are buried underneath. When the liquid mixture comes to a boil, pour it over the couscous, without stirring, and immediately cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to absorb the liquid for 5 to 7 minutes while you prepare the sausages.
For the sausages and sauce, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is just about smoking, add the sausages. Cook until browned on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the sausages from the pan and set aside. Add the onions and fennel to the pan. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, cumin, harissa, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Add the sausages back to the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have wilted and the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. If the sauce becomes too dry, add a little more stock or water until you reach a desired consistency. Reduce the heat to warm and remove the sausages to a cutting board. Stir the cilantro into the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Remove the cover from the couscous and use a fork to lightly scrape the top few layers of couscous. Fluffing gently, disperse the cherries and pistachios in the couscous.
To serve, mound a scoop of the couscous into the center of warmed plates. Slice the sausages diagonally and fan them on top of the couscous. Spoon the sauce over top. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve immediately.