Mediterranean Couscous

Serves 4 - 6, prep time: 20m, total time: 45m

Ingredients:

 

  • Couscous (2 boxes or 2 cups of dry couscous)

  • Chicken broth (2 and 2/3 cups)

  • Unsalted butter (2 tablespoons)

  • Scallion onions (3 small, white and green parts chopped)

  • Pine nuts (1/3 cup, toasted)

  • Golden raisins (1/2 cup)

  • Dark rum (1/4 cup)

  • Garlic (2 -3 cloves, minced)

  • Lemon zest (1 lemon)

  • Lemon juice (1/4 cup)

  • Fresh Mint (3 tablespoons, chopped)

  • Sicilian black olives (1/3 cup, chopped and pitted)

  • Peruvian peppers (1/3 cup, substitute with roasted red peppers (chopped) or a pickled pepper of your choice if you can't find Peruvian peppers - check the olive bar in the grocery store if you can't find them in the canned aisle section)

  • Kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)

  • Black pepper (1/2 teaspoon, finely ground)

  • Olive oil (3 tablespoons)

Prepare your ingredients for the couscous.  Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.  Place the pine nuts on a baking tray and toast for 5 minutes, keeping an eye on them to ensure they don't burn.  When done, remove them from the oven and take them off the tray so they stop cooking.  In a small sauce pot, combine the rum and golden raisins and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat. 

Next, chop the scallions, mince the garlic, grate the lemon zest, juice the lemon, chop the mint, and pit and chop the olives. 

 

Prepare the couscous in batches.  In a medium sauce pot, heat 1 and 1/3 cups of chicken stock and 1 tablespoon of butter on high heat.  When it comes to a boil, turn off the heat, pour in 1 box or 1 cup of the couscous, stir to combine and then remove from the burner and cover with a lid for 5 - 7 minutes.  Fluff the couscous with a fork and place into a large mixing bowl.  Now repeat the process for your 2nd batch of couscous using the remaining 1 and 1/3 cups of chicken stock, 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 cup of couscous.  Fluff with a fork and combine in the mixing bowl with your first batch of couscous.

 

Now, add to the couscous the scallions, pine nuts, raisins, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, mint, olives, peppers, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Adjust any of the seasoning and ingredients to your liking.

 

Best served fresh or at room temperature and goes perfectly with my recipe for grilled rack of lamb.  You can store the couscous in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.  If making in advance, take the couscous out of the refrigerator for an 1hour before serving so it can come to room temperature.

 

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