Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recipe Week! - My Couscous Concoction

Thus far, the recipes this week have come from elsewhere so it seemed fair to share one I made up on my own (I think I did, at least). This couscous recipe was inspired by a "what do we have around" type night. I tend to keep a lot of pasta and rice on hand and often base dinner on such things if I don't have a meal plan. This recipe is very flexible and adaptable to what you might have in your cupboard which I like. Don't leave out the lemon juice though as it adds a brightness that makes this dish worthwhile. I have taken this to gatherings as a side dish, but it often appears as a main dish at our house. You may remember the "making couscous with Mama- Ka Pow" quote from B. We were making this very dish-- so now the added bonus of happy memories!

Couscous Concoction

1 lemon (alt. dried lemon zest and 2T bottled lemon juice (or more to taste)
1 c. instant couscous
1 3/4 c. chicken broth (or water) --add slightly more liquid than the recipe on the package calls for 1/4 c. is about right
1 tsp. curry (we often use more, but you may want less depending on your curry tolerance)
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1/3 c. frozen green peas
1/4 c. pine nuts (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

I start by setting up the couscous according the the instructions on the package as far as the water to couscous ratio, timing, etc so the below are rough estimates and check your package for specifics.

- Add broth, dried cranberries, zest of one lemon and curry to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add couscouos, and frozen peas and juice of 1/2 a lemon. Mix well and let the mixture soak for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, if using pine nuts, toast lightly in a hot skillet. This will only take a couple minutes and pay close attention as it is easy to burn them.
- When couscous is tender, add the juice of the remaining 1/2 a lemon and the pine nuts (if using). Mix well and taste. If the mixture is dry add additional broth or lemon juice as you prefer. Sometimes we "garnish" with herbs or pinenuts when we're feeling fancy:)

This makes about 4 servings, but the recipe is quick and easy to scale up for larger crowds. Enjoy!

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