Thanks to all of your support, I was runner up in the PEI Recipe Challenge for my seafood potato skins and won the cookbook The Best of Chef at Home by Michael Smith! As a result, I have been testing his recipes in my kitchen.
The other day it was so brutally cold that I just could not get out to pick up any ingredients and had to make something for lunch with ingredients I already had. I did not have regular couscous but I did have Israeli which I had never eaten before. I am not a big fan of regular couscous but was hoping that Israel couscous would win me over.
You know it is cold in Nova Scotia when it is actually sunny enough to light my kitchen with natural light! First, thanks to the fabulous photos in this book which you can kind of see via my cookbook holder, I could not help but be drawn to this recipe. Stunning photos!
Here is what you need:
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, minced
few cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 cup of couscous (I used Israeli)
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of dried apricots, sliced
2 cups of orange juice
zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of slivered almonds (I used hazelnuts)
1 handful of cilantro (I used flat leaf Italian parsley)
You begin by sauteing the garlic, onions and spices in some olive oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes.
Add the chickpeas, couscous, raisins, apricots, orange juice, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce to low and cover. Most Israeli couscous recipes say to cook it for 10-12 minutes which is what I did. Michael Smith used regular couscous and says to cook for about 15 minutes. Take off the stove and let sit another five minutes.
I added some chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley.
Not only that but this makes a TON of food for very little money. It made a great lunch on its own and I even reheated it for dinner when I made some easy and healthy curry chicken. My husband loved it, more than I did but he does not mind sweet food. It makes a great side dish with minimal effort and money.
If you like sweet savoury dishes I would give this a four and a half out of five wooden spoons. I personally do not like sweet savoury dishes so I personally could only give it three and a half out of five wooden spoons. I probably will make it again but I think I will use broth instead of orange juice, just too sweet!