Vaguely Mediterranean Vegetarian Barbecue Thingy

Main Ingredients

2 Portobello mushroom caps 1/2 onion (your choice of color) 1 red pepper 1 cup large couscous* 2 cups chicken broth 2 tablespoons real butter 1/4 cup oil (olive or corn will work)

1/2 cup of yogurt, plain

Barbecue Sauce 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce 1 small can tomato paste (not sauce) 1/3 cup brown sugar five or six cilantro leaves Cumin Garlic powder Onion powder Black pepper Balsamic vinegar


First of all, let’s talk about the couscous. You don’t want the couscous they sell at Wal-Mart, the kind where the actual couscous bits are tiny like Malt-O-Meal. You want the kind where each individual couscou or whatever you call them are about the size of the pellets you load in a pellet gun, the kind you shoot vermin with. You can buy this at any reputable Mediterranean market. Look for places with names like “Marrakech” or “Abdul’s Market”.

Once you’ve obtained this, continue with the recipe. Go ahead. I’ll be waiting.



Okay, first you want to slice the Portobello caps into strips about 1/3″ – 1/2″ wide. Think of how you’d cut steak or chicken for fajitas. Like that. Then chop the onion into rings and cut the rings in half. Finally, cut the red pepper into thinner strips.

Now, here’s the thing with the barbecue sauce — once you’ve got the Worcestershire, the tomato and the brown sugar, the rest is basically to taste. Throw it in a bowl and mix it thoroughly. It isn’t rocket science. Mix things until it tastes good to you. If it’s too thick, add a little more vinegar or Worcestershire. Balsamic vinegar is the Auto-Tune of cooking. It makes everything lovely.

Get a saucepan. Put it on medium high heat. Put the butter in it. When the butter is melted and sizzling, put the couscous in it. Yes, I’m serious. Sauté the couscous a bit, making sure to shift it around so you get all the sides of the little balls. When you feel you’ve accomplished this to a reasonable degree, pour in the two cups of chicken broth and cover it. Turn it to medium heat and let it cook. It will be done when the water is gone and the couscous is soft like rice.

Now that you’ve done this, take a big cast iron pan and put some olive oil in it. Put it on medium high heat as well. When the oil is all thin and shifty, throw the mushrooms, onions and red peppers in it. You want to sauté this stuff fairly well.

When it’s nice and sautéed, pour the barbecue sauce into the cast iron pan and mix everything around so it’s covered with sauce. Here’s the weird part — raise the temperature to high.

What will happen is that the sauce will begin to caramelize around the veggies. Be vigilant here. If you burn it, it will suck. Watch it the way you’d watch a junkie around your jewelry collection.

When it’s nice and thick and caramelized, turn off the heat and remove the cast iron skillet. The couscous ought to be done by this time, or pretty close.

When the couscous is done, take a big ladle and put a pile of it on your plate. Then take a big wide spoon and pour the barbecue sauce and veggies on top of it, like you would put spaghetti sauce on spaghetti.

Put a dollop of yogurt on top. Repeat for each diner in your party.


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1 Comment

  1. Really well written. Am always looking for funky veg recipes on line. Have never commented on line before – but very much enjoyed being able to go through step by step as though you are right beside me in my kitchen.

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