They say you should never make a new recipe for dinner guests. Although I can understand why the “powers that be” have suggested that you stick with what you know, I often break the rules on this one. And so far, I have only served
raw undercooked chicken and inedible pasty risotto once (not one of my high points…). For the most part, some of my favorite dishes have come from recipes that have lost their virginity to my dinner guests. And when they turn out to be a slam dunk, you totally get extra points for having the balls to take a risk. (Please excuse the inappropriate slang…I have no idea what has gotten into me tonight!)
I can’t remember if I have mentioned this before, but after Freddie and I got married, and I started to learn how to cook, my goal was to never make the same thing twice. I experimented with a new recipe every night. It was a challenge I enjoyed. During the day, when I should have been working, I was glued to my BlackBerry, perusing the sites of my favorite magazines. Soon, I became flooded with inspiration and had collected thousands of recipes. So whether it was a quiet night in with just Freddie and I, or a dinner party of 6, you can bet I was cooking a new recipe from my stash.
I found this recipe on Eating Well‘s site. I was expecting my girlfriend for dinner and wanted to make something spicy (as in with lots of flavor…not hot). This was the first recipe to pop up on the home screen and I was sold. I had never roasted peppers before but the process was extremely easy. Actually, the entire meal comes together in no time. Delicious results with little fuss. My kind of meal.
2 red bell peppers
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 whole lemon
1 tsp plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2/3 cup whole-wheat couscous
1 pound skirt steak
1. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.
2. Place bell peppers on a baking sheet and roast under the broiler, turning every 5 minutes, until charred and softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board; when cool enough to handle, chop the peppers into bite-size pieces.
3. Meanwhile, combine cumin, coriander, salt, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper in a small bowl. Grate 1/2 teaspoon zest from the lemon. Juice the lemon into a 1-cup measure and add enough water to make 1 cup. Pour into a small saucepan and add the lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover, remove from heat and let stand.
4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat until shimmering (but not smoking). Rub the remaining spice mixture on both sides of steak. Cook the steak 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest on the cutting board for 5 minutes. Stir the peppers into the couscous. Thinly slice the steak and serve with the couscous.
Recipe from Eating Well
The original recipe calls for olives in the couscous as well. But I am not a big fan of olives, so I omitted them completely. I served this meal with a side of steamed broccoli that I tossed with a tad bit of butter and lemon juice.
What makes this meal so special is the complexity of the spices. They bring the meat and the couscous to life. I like to use this spice mixture on other meats as well. It is a great way to make any ordinary dish shine.
Your turn: Have you ever tried a new recipe for dinner guests? What was the result? Looking forward to reading your responses :)
PS: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Only a few days left to get your entries in. Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks. Your comment acts are your entry into the giveaway. Good luck!