James Bond food couscous

Turkey with couscous

Like many people at this time of year, I’ve been wondering what to do with all the left-over Christmas turkey and ham. I’ve considered the usual options, among them turkey sandwiches, ham and turkey pie and turkey curry, but yesterday, for a change, I decided to cook up a dish of turkey with couscous, having been inspired by a meal consumed in Raymond Benson’s James Bond novel, Doubleshot, published in 2000.

In the novel, James Bond is in Casablanca and dining at Le Douira with two CIA agents, Heidi and Hedy Taunt. After a shared starter of prawn-filled puff pastries, Bond orders a kebab in a spicy paprika sauce with a fried egg on top, Heidi Taunt goes for a rack of lamb, while Hedy Taunt has chicken with couscous. It was this last dish that interested me. Perfect, I thought, for all that turkey still sitting in my fridge. The Moroccan flavours would be lovely and warming too.

I finely chopped an onion and two or three cloves of garlic, and fried them in olive oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. I added half a red bell pepper (deseeded and finely chopped) and a handful of tiny broccoli florets, stirred everything around to mix and continued to fry for a few more minutes.

I then mixed into the pan a good amount (approx. two large handfuls) of diced cooked turkey, and added a teaspoon each of hot paprika, ground cumin and ground coriander, plus a pinch of black pepper and salt. I stirred to mix, then poured in about a third of a pint (c. 200ml) of freshly boiled water (I would have used chicken stock, but I didn’t have any to hand). I covered the pan and let the dish simmer for a few minutes to heat the turkey through.

Removing the lid, I mixed in enough dried couscous for two to three people (approx. 150g). I replaced the lid and took the pan off the heat. After a couple of minutes, the couscous was cooked. I fluffed the couscous up with a fork, sprinkled some finely chopped parsley over the top, and served.

The dish was somewhat ad hoc, but it made an excellent supper dish, and, more importantly, used up some of that darned turkey. And the name of the dish? Given the source of the inspiration, the ingredients and warm flavours, it’s got to be ‘Cous Cous Bang Bang’!

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