Sunday, November 8, 2020

One Flew Over the Couscous Nest Middle Eastern Minestrone with Chickpeas & Israeli Couscous for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays and #BlendsBash2020

It's a bit of deja vu this week as last Sunday I was experimenting in my kitchen with a Book Blend from the The Book Club Cookbook's Lord of the Fries Garlic Seasoning Blend (you can see my Lord of the Fries Seasoned Pan-Fried Gnocchi in Creamy Garlic Soup here) and this Sunday finds me back in my kitchen and experimenting with another Book Blend; One Flew Over the Couscous Nest and creating another delicious soup inspired by it. Oh well, in my book you can never have too many soups or too many punny seasoning blends!

One Flew Over the Couscous Nest; Couscous Seasoning is of course named after One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a novel by Ken Kesey. Set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, I think it was a rule that you had to read it at some point in the upper grades high school if you lived in the state, and watch the movie along with it. Wikipedia says that, "the narrative serves as a study of institutional processes and the human mind as well as a critique of psychiatry and a tribute to individualistic principles."

One Flew Over the Couscous Nest spice blend is hand blended from cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon and parsley and can be added to dry couscous to be steamed. I like the note on the side of the bottle: "Nurse Ratched would disapprove, but this earthy North African blend is a distinctive match for your couscous, adding a dose of individuality."  I'd also add this blend to eggs, rice dishes, any vegetables and fish or meat skewers.  

My One Flew Over the Couscous Nest Middle Eastern Minestrone with Chickpeas & Israeli Couscous is my Middle Eastern take on an Italian classic soup minestrone which basically translates to "big soup." This is a big soup in terms of flavor and ingredients as it's I have replaced the more traditional white or kidney beans with chickpeas and the Italian pasta with Israeli or pearled couscous. I added in eggplant and zucchini and of course the warm and exotic One Flew Over the Couscous Nest seasoning.

One Flew Over the Couscous Nest Middle Eastern Minestrone with Chickpeas & Israeli Couscous
By Deb, Kahahkai Kitchen
(Makes 6 Servings)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp One Flew Over the Couscous Nest Seasoning Blend, or similar flavor profile
1 tsp chili pepper flakes, or to taste (I used Aleppo pepper)
1 large zucchini chopped
2 medium Japanese eggplant, chopped
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes + their juices
1  (24 oz) jar of your favorite brand of marinara or garlic pasta sauce
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups dried Israeli  couscous
sea salt and black pepper to taste
To serve: chopped fresh parsley and  yogurt or labni if desired. (If you want to keep it vegan, use a non-dairy milk version).

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook about 10 minutes, until veggies have softened. Add garlic, One Flew Over the Couscous Nest seasoning blend and chili pepper flakes and cook another minute or two until fragrant. Add the zucchini and eggplant and stir to coat in the spices. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, pasta sauce, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Raise heat until soup is bubbling and stir in the Israeli couscous. Cook about 8 minutes, until couscous is tender. Taste and add sea salt and black pepper as desired.

Serve in bowls garnished with chopped fresh parsley and a spoonful of yogurt or labne on top. Enjoy!

Notes/Results: A stomach and soul-warming soup, rich and full of exotic flavor and a little bit of heat. It's thick and chunky and almost stew like, so if you want brothier soup you can reduce the couscous or add more broth to get the consistency you like. I love the One Flew Over the Couscous Nest blend as it is aromatic, warming, slightly smoky and has a little touch of almost sweetness from the cinnamon--it's a blend that makes you take a step back and wonder what's in it. It transforms the soup and takes it up a level. I would happily make it again. (BTW: if you can't find Israeli couscous, you could use regular couscous or even bulgur wheat.)  

This soup is my third recipe created for for #BlendsBash2020. If you missed my Dukkah Earl Grilled Eggplant Toasts with Whipped Feta & Dukkah post, go take a look and see my introduction to Blends Bash, 2020 hosted by The Book Club Cookbook, purveyor of delicious seasoning blends cleverly named after books, television shows, and music. 

Many thanks to The Book Club Cookbook for providing me with this fun and delicious seasoning blend. I received no compensation for taking part in the virtual 2020 #BlendsBash party and my thoughts and experience using the blends are my own.

I'll be sharing at least  one more recipe between now and December as will more than 30 other bloggers as part of the 2020 Blends Bash!  You can check out all the bloggers participating in the #BlendsBash here.

Here's a sneak peek the blends i'm featuring from October to December in their adorable packaging. These blends are so delicious and fun--they make wonderful gifts for your foodie friends and fans of the many book, TV and song blends they feature. Check out a list of blends here.

Speaking of soup, let's take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here this week!

Crafty Gardener is back with some warming Chilly for Chili, saying "When it gets chilly out it is time to cook a pot of chili. I make lots and freeze it for later, as you never know when you need some comfort food. Once the chili is done, serve with some nice crusty bread and freeze portions for later." 

Thank you for joining me this week Crafty Gardener!

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:
  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up to Souper Sundays in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and add a link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to this post or my blog on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (completely optional).

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

 Have a happy, healthy week!


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