Tuesday, October 12, 2010
When I held my dinner party a few weeks ago, one of my guests found out ahead of time that I was serving couscous and was just sure the dinner was going to be a disaster. Apparently, his mother served couscous topped with spaghetti sauce...it all mixed together in a most unpleasant way and resulted in many bad memories of family dinners.
Well, my friends, that is not the way to serve couscous! It's too delightful to douse in sauce...it must be fluffed, mixed with veggies and herbs, and enjoyed for the wonderful dish it is.
At least that's my opinion. Anybody out there agree?
I can remember when I first discovered couscous. I was at Disney World on my honeymoon, and my husband and I ate at a restaurant in Morocco at Epcot. Our waitress was from Fez, and she highly recommended the couscous - "it's the national dish!" she said. I was a bit wary until she told me it tastes just like little bits of pasta...so I ordered. I'm a sucker for pasta.
Once I got home as a new bride, I quickly searched my own cookbooks for some couscous recipes and landed on this one. I love it. It's got amazing flavor, it's fast, it's loaded with veggies, and it's light. It's the perfect side dish!
First, prepare your veggies. Slice two medium carrots, 1 celery stalk, and 1 bell pepper (if you are able, use two different colors of bell pepper - it adds some great color). Dice up one onion to go along with it.
You also want to chop up a zucchini. Cut down the middle lengthwise and then slice. Keep the zucchini separated from the rest of the veggies - it goes in the recipe a little later.
Saute the carrots, celery, onion, and peppers in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they are crisp-tender.
Add the zucchini along with 4 tablespoons of basil, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and a dash (or three!) of Tabasco.
Stir in 1 cup of uncooked couscous, then add 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Bring the broth to a boil. Once it's boiling, remove your skillet from the heat and cover it.
Amazingly, the couscous cooks while it sits! Just let your covered skillet hang out for about 5-8 minutes, and then fluff the couscous with a fork.
All in all, the recipe only takes about 25 minutes. It is flavorful enough to serve with plain grilled chicken, but I love it alongside braised pork chops (recipe coming soon)!
Adapted from Taste of Home's Light and Tasty 2002
2 medium carrots, sliced
1/2 cup diced celery
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, julienned
1 T. olive oil
1 medium zucchini, diced
4 t. dried basil
1/4 t. garlic salt
1/8 t. pepper
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
In a large skillet, saute the carrots, celery, onion, and peppers in oil for 5-6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add the next five ingredients; mix well. Stir in the couscous. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat; let stand 5-8 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately. Serves 4 (1 1/2 cup servings).
Nutrition: 272 cal, 8g fat, 1g sat fat, 0mg cholesterol, 513mg sodium, 43g carbs, 4g fiber, 8g protein.
Linked up with Gold Star Wednesday!