Clams turn couscous into a New England delight

Yankee Chef logoBy Jim Bailey

Although a noted ingredient in many Middle Eastern recipes and mostly associated with Israel, couscous is, in fact, an original from Africa. Couscous, which is a semolina product, is the perfect sponge for absorbing the flavor of clam juice. But try this recipe using fish or other seafood stock, or chicken or vegetable broth.

New England style couscous highlighted with clams

New England style couscous highlighted with clams

1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice
16 ounces clam juice
1/2 small onion, minced
3 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
1 cup couscous
1 cup water
12 ounces chopped clams, drained with juice reserved
1 teaspoon sugar
Couple dashes of hot pepper sauce
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh basil leaves, chopped for garnish

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add the whole tomatoes with juice, clam juice, onion and 2 tablespoons chopped basil. Pulse until the tomatoes are minced very fine.

Transfer to a large saucepan and add couscous, water, juice from the canned clams, sugar and hot pepper sauce.

Stir until combined and place pot over medium-high heat. When boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, or until the couscous has plumped up and cooked. Remove from heat, stir well, adding the chopped clams and season to taste. Divide among four bowls and serve with freshly chopped basil leaves on top.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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