Pantry Dinner with Sardines

February 25, 2019
1 Ratings
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

This dish was created when my husband and I had a sudden change of dinner plans and were left in the lurch. We happen to love canned sardines and I realized I had an abundance of them, which lead me to create this tasty dish. This was also inspired by the bodega beans recipe from amateurgourmet where (being not a huge fan of beans) I racked my brain trying to come up with my version of this type of affordable pantry dish and came up with this. —Shelli

What You'll Need
  • 2-4 ounces tinned sardines (I use olive oil packed, but any type is fine)
  • 1 15 oz can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 diced yellow onion (add more if you like)
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups israeli couscous
  • 2.5 cups chicken stock, plus more to loosen up sardine mixture
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (add more if you wish)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Take a large frying pan and heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Saute onions until browned.
  2. Add tinned sardines to the onions and break them up with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the can of crushed tomatoes, raisins, 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes, and minced garlic. Let it cook for a minute and then cover the pan with a lid and let the mixture simmer until the raisins are plumped and soft.
  4. Meanwhile, melt a tablespoon of butter in a medium pot. Toast the couscous until at least half the pearls are browned. Add the chicken stock, cover, and have it come to a boil. Once it boils, turn down the heat to medium low and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes until al dente and the stock has been absorbed by the couscous. Turn the heat off (or turn it down to low to keep warm) but keep the cover on until ready to serve. Add salt and pepper to couscous to taste.
  5. Uncover the sardine mixture and add the italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt and pepper (all to taste). If the mixture is on the drier side, add some chicken stock until it's saucier like a ragu. Test the seasonings and see if it needs any doctoring (I love garlic, so I always add more!).
  6. To serve, spoon the couscous into a bowl and top with the sardine mixture. Enjoy!
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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • gardenchickens
  • Shelli

4 Reviews

gardenchickens June 10, 2020
Every item in this recipe is already in my panty (for pasta con le sarde), and is shelf stable, usually affordable and replaceable. The prep and clean-up are relatively simple and painless. I'm thinking this dish could be pre-packed with dehydrated versions of the some ingredients to stock a "hurricane bucket" for weather emergencies, hikes, or camp outs.

As a side note, I used sardines that expired in 2016 (I keep a big stash), but they were perfectly fine when I opened the cans. They were quite delicious in this dish. Lessons learned: 1) proper storage gives longer life to canned goods, 2) my stock rotation needs improvement, and 3) I need to eat more sardines.

The toasted couscous is a very nice touch, giving the dish a nice balance, not to heavy or starchy. A touch of parsley works as a garnish, as do a few pine nuts. I'll be making this one again, glad to have another go-to pantry recipe for sardines.

gardenchickens June 3, 2020
I want to make this (I love sardines!) but I'd like to clarify the ingredients. My grocers sell sardines in cans. Are two packets of tinned sardines closely equivalent to 2 ___ oz cans? Also, I'm not clear about the tomatoes. Do I use only an ounce or can I just dump in the whole can.
Shelli June 4, 2020
Thanks for pointing this out and I have corrected the recipe, but I used two 2-oz tins of sardines and one 15 oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes. You can reduce the sardines to one can if you don't wish to have that many sardines, but I liked the amount of the two cans.
gardenchickens June 4, 2020
Thanks very much! That's one weekend dinner with a plan, I'll let you know how goes.