Tag Archives: couscous

Herby Yogurt Sauce with Grilled Lamb Chops and Cucumber Couscous Salad

Did you know that plain yogurt is an excellent base for a marinade? It slowly tenderizes the meat, rendering it juicy, but never meaty or tough; plus it leaves a pleasant tangy flavor behind. In this case, a simple blend of yogurt, shallot, lemon and salt is a perfect match for lamb’s richness.

A portion of the mixture is set aside to purée with tender green herbs and lemon juice for a quick finishing sauce after the lamb is done. The original recipe called for baby lamb chops (aka lollipop chops), but we prefer a meatier cut such as the loin chop, and the ingredients list reflects our changes.

The yogurt sauce mixture not only complimented the meat but benefited the sliced cucumbers as well. Another side was whole wheat pearl couscous cooked in homemade chicken stock for added flavor.

Herby Yogurt Sauce with Grilled Lamb Chops and Cucumber Couscous Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest, plus 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, all from 1 lemon
  • 8 loin lamb chops
  • 1 cup packed fresh tender herbs (such as parsley, dill and mint leaves), plus more for serving
  • 1 cup pearl whole wheat couscous, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin for serving

Directions

  1. Stir together yogurt, shallot, salt, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Measure 1 cup of the mixture into a large ziploc bag. Cover and refrigerate the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt mixture.
  2. Add lamb chops to ziploc bag; seal bag and turn to coat lamb in sauce. Let marinate in the fridge at least 2 hours, and up to 24. Ours marinated 8 hours.
  3. Preheat grill to high (450°-500°). Scrape off excess marinate from lamb, then discard the bag .
  4. Sprinkle chops evenly with salt and pepper. Arrange chops on oiled grill grates. Grill covered, turning once or twice until browned and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 135° for medium-rare; about 10 minutes total; lollipop chops will take about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer chops to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, transfer reserved yogurt mixture to a food processor. Add fresh herbs and lemon juice; pulse until smooth, about 20 pulses.
  7. Serve lamb alongside sauce, cooked couscous, cucumbers and additional herbs.

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Adapted from a recipe for Food & Wine Magazine

Roast Chicken with Couscous, Roasted Red Peppers and Basil

No fuss, no muss—perfect dinner for us. Every now and again (or perhaps all of the time), you want a quick, simple, yet satisfying meal. If that meal is a golden-brown, juicy, and tender roast chicken, then this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated (CI) is the ticket.

In a different twist, CI instructs to trim off excess skin and fat from the cavity and cut small slits in the skin above and below the thigh. Cutting these slits allows the juices to drain from the chicken into the skillet, where they brown, concentrate, and develop more flavor. Prior to roasting, the skin is brushed with melted butter instead of oil to facilitate browning.

Roasting the chicken breast side up in a preheated skillet set in a 400-degree oven helps the legs finish cooking at the same time as the breast. When the breast registers 150 to 155 degrees, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest, tented with foil, for 15 minutes on a moated cutting board so that it can gently rise to the serving temperature of 160 degrees.

Even though our chicken weighed in at 5 pounds, it took only an additional 5 minutes to come to temp. While the bird rests, use the umami-rich jus as a base for cooking an ultra-flavorful side dish of couscous with roasted red peppers.

NOTE: This recipe was developed with Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt; if using Morton Kosher Salt, which is denser, decrease the amount for the chicken to 1¾ teaspoons and the amount for the couscous to ¼ teaspoon.

Roast Chicken with Couscous, Roasted Red Peppers and Basil

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. pepper1 (4-lb.) whole chicken, giblets discarded
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • ¾ cup couscous
  • ½ cup water, more or less*
  • 5 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup jarred roasted red peppers, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Stir 2½ teaspoons salt and pepper together in small bowl. Place chicken breast side up on cutting board. Using kitchen shears, thoroughly trim excess fat and skin from cavity. Lift 1 drumstick and use paring knife to cut ½-inch slit in skin where drumstick and thigh meet. Turn chicken on side so breast faces edge of counter. Cut ½-inch slit in skin where top of thigh meets breast. Repeat both cuts on opposite side of chicken. Tuck wingtips behind back. Sprinkle about one-third of salt mixture into cavity.
  3. Brush top and sides of chicken with melted butter. Sprinkle remaining salt mixture evenly over all sides of chicken.
  4. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place chicken breast side up in skillet; transfer to oven; and roast until thickest part of breast registers 150 to 155 degrees, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through roasting.
  5. Lift the chicken cavity side down to drain the juices from the bird into the skillet. Transfer chicken to a moated carving board and let rest, tented with foil, for 15 minutes (chicken temperature will continue to rise as it rests).
  6. Meanwhile, pour pan juices into fat separator. Add 1 tablespoon fat to now-empty skillet. Add garlic and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add couscous and stir until well combined. Stir in all defatted pan juices with *enough water to equal one cup, vinegar, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and bring to simmer. Spread red peppers in even layer over couscous; turn off heat; cover; and let sit until couscous is just tender and all liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  8. Carve chicken and transfer to platter. Pour any accumulated juices over the poultry pieces.
  9. Fluff couscous, stir in basil, season with salt to taste, and transfer to bowl. Serve chicken with couscous.

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Adapted from a recipe by Cooks Illustrated

Sheet Pan Caponata and Couscous with Goat Cheese

An Italian, Middle-Eastern mash-up if you will. In a twist, this version of Sicilian eggplant dish is roasted on a sheet pan in the oven, so you don’t have to bother with any deep- or pan-frying. The tomato paste and cinnamon give it depth, the sherry vinegar lends brightness, and the raisins and brown sugar offer balance.

This variation on Italian caponata becomes a main course atop fluffy couscous and creamy goat cheese. Buy the freshest eggplant you can find, it should feel heavy and have no soft spots, and you won’t need to peel or salt it to pull out any bitterness. Because pine nuts are traditional in caponata, they’re the first choice, but they can be pricey so pepitas or chopped walnuts make fine substitutions. Finally, if you don’t like goat cheese, substitute ricotta or farmer cheese. But the cheese adds a welcome component, so don’t omit it.

Under the couscous, the goat cheese melts into a creamy, salty, tangy puddle.

G. Daniela galarza

NOTE: Leftovers may be refrigerated in covered containers for up to 4 days.

Sheet Pan Caponata and Couscous with Goat Cheese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the Caponata

  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. Japanese or globe eggplant, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion (8 to 10 oz.), chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato (6 to 8 oz.), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar or honey, or to taste
  • 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt or table salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup raisins (any kind)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, pepitas or chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, or to taste

For the Couscous

  • 1 1/2 cups water or low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt or table salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 9 oz.) couscous

For Serving

  • 3 oz. soft goat cheese, or more if desired
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil, mint or parsley (optional)

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
  2. Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Add the eggplant, onion, bell pepper, tomato and garlic, and use your hands to toss everything together. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top, followed by the brown sugar or honey, salt, cinnamon and black pepper. Toss again, then spread into an even layer.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using tongs or a spatula, flip and redistribute vegetables so they cook evenly. Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.
  4. Transfer the pan to a heatproof surface. Mash the garlic cloves into a paste. Push the vegetables aside to expose a small area of the hot metal and place the tomato paste on it. Using a wooden spoon, stir the tomato paste into the vegetables, followed by the raisins, nuts or seeds, water and vinegar; stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adjusting with more vinegar, sugar, salt and/or pepper as desired.
  5. Make the couscous: About 10 minutes before the eggplant is finished roasting, in a medium lidded saucepan over high heat, bring the water or stock, olive oil and salt to a rolling boil. Immediately pour in the couscous, ensuring it’s moistened throughout, then cover, remove from the heat and let it steam for about 5 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. To serve, portion about a quarter of the goat cheese into the center of each plate. Top with a pile of couscous and some of the caponata. Garnish with the torn herbs and more goat cheese, if desired.

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Recipe by G. Daniela Galarza from the Eat Voraciously newsletter

Grilled Beef Kebabs and Veggie Skewers with Aromatic Couscous

Here’s a typical meal for outdoor grilling with a couscous side dish made on the stovetop while the meat and vegetables are getting happy. If you are not a red meat eater, you can always switch out the beef for boneless, skinless chicken pieces. The dry-rub will work just as well on poultry.

The beef kebabs were 2″ cubes cut down from a 2-lb. top sirloin. The meat was tossed in a dry rub of ground up 1 Tbsp. mustard seed, 1 1⁄2 tsp. black peppercorns, 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary and 1 tsp. kosher salt; then divided onto four metal skewers and put in the refrigerator, uncovered for eight hours.

It is best to use long metal skewers. If all you have are the wooden ones, make sure to soak them in water for an hour, and you may have to use several more because they are typically shorter than their metal counterparts.

Veggie skewers are a particular favorite of ours especially during the warmer months when we can grill outside. While the cocktail tomatoes (1 lb.) and mushroom caps (12 oz.) are left whole, the bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow) are cut into 2″ pieces, and the 2 red onions into 8 wedges each, with the root end intact. Make the marinade with 2⁄3 cup olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano snipped from the garden.

Place the tomatoes and mushrooms in one ziploc, the onion and bell pepper in another, and divide the oil mixture between the two bags. Let marinate at least one hour, up to eight hours, turning each bag a couple of times.

While the grill is warming up—direct heat on one side, indirect on the other—skewer the veggies. Alternate the cocktail tomatoes and mushroom caps on three skewers; then the bell pepper and red onion on another 3 skewers. If you have any random veggies leftover, slide them onto a final skewer.

Put on direct heat side of grill for about 20 minutes, flipping once to char both sides, keeping the lid closed in between. The tomato skewers will get done first so move them over to the indirect heat side of grill. When the onion skewers are nicely charred, pile them up with the tomato skewers and now place the meat skewers on the direct heat and close the lid. The meat is medium-rare when it registers 125° with an instant-read thermometer, about 10-12 minutes.

Originally from Cook’s Illustrated, the couscous recipe called for three tablespoons of raisins, which we omitted. But curry powder, lime juice, and mint lent depth and brightness to the dish. All said and done, it takes about 15 minutes to make.

Aromatic Couscous

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Aromatic Couscous

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 Tbsp.)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup plain or tri-colored couscous
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh mint, cilantro or parsley
  • 1 ½ tsp. fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in the garlic and curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the broth. Bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the couscous and remove the pot from the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Fold the mint (cilantro or parsley) and lime juice into the couscous. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Couscous recipe adapted from one for Cook’s Illustrated

Harissa-Spiced Lamb with Dates and Couscous

Harissa is a North African spice paste whichis used as the flavor base for this simple skillet-cooked meat sauce, as well as to season the couscous that’s served alongside. Scallions play a dual role in this dish—the whites are caramelized to lend depth of flavor to the sauce and the greens are sprinkled on as a garnish.

Dates (or golden raisins) lend sweetness that play off the spicy, savory notes. Neither of us are huge fans of raisins/dates in our savory dishes, so we only incorporated one ounce of golden raisins and to us, it was the perfect amount of sweetness.

While the directions were followed as written, the next time we prepare this dish, we’ll brown the meat in the skillet first, remove it to a dish, wipe out the grease, and then cook the scallions as directed, adding back the cooked lamb afterwards. The original way leaves all of the fat in the pan.

The chopped pistachios, lemon wedge and cilantro all added welcome pops of flavor as garnishes.

Harissa-Spiced Lamb with Dates and Couscous

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups couscous
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. harissa, divided, plus more to serve
  • 1¼ cups boiling water
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens reserved separately
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 lb. 80 percent lean ground lamb (OR ground beef)
  • ¾ cup pitted dates/golden raisins, roughly chopped
  • Optional garnish: Chopped fresh cilantro, chopped pistachios, chopped pitted green olives and/or lemon wedges

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the couscous, ¾ teaspoon salt and 1½ tablespoons each oil and harissa. Stir in the boiling water; cover and let stand while you prepare the beef.
  2. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil, the scallion whites and cumin, stirring, until the scallions brown.
  3. Add the lamb (or beef), the remaining 1½ tablespoons harissa, the dates, ¾ cup water and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally while breaking up the meat, until the mixture is saucy.
  4. Stir in the scallion greens and season with salt and pepper. Serve over the couscous.

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Recipe from Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Citrus Couscous Salad

The temps are warming here in southeastern PA, which starts our craving for brighter tasting food. This Citrus Couscous Salad recipe was spotted in Fine Cooking Magazine, but originated in Better Homes & Gardens from what I can surmise. Doesn’t really matter, we made numerous changes to make it our own.

Orange zest, juice, and segments brighten up this fresh take on a “pasta” salad recipe. Despite popular belief that couscous is a type of whole grain (it does have a rice-like appearance), it is actually a pasta made of semolina and wheat flour that is moistened and tossed together until it forms little balls. (Sorry keto-friendly dieters.)

Not only does couscous cook quickly—a plus for most home cooks—it is an excellent main or side dish that pleases almost anyone’s palate. While the original recipe used 6 oranges, and fed as many, the ingredients list here was halved for the most part. Although, the thyme and olive quantities remain the same, pine nuts were swapped out for the hazelnuts.

Because it can sit at room temperature, it would be a great asset at any pot luck or picnic.

Citrus Couscous Salad

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 large Cara Cara, navel, or other oranges
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1⁄2 cup Israeli couscous
  • 3⁄4 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1⁄2 cup very thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp. pinenuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped, pitted Castelvetrano olives or Manzanilla olives
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. coarse salt
  • ⅛ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler remove strips of zest from one orange, being careful not to remove the white pith; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan with a tight lid heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add couscous; cook 2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often. Add two orange strips, broth, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat; reduce heat. Cover; cook 12 to 15 minutes or until couscous is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Let cool; discard strips.
  3. Meanwhile, using a paring knife, remove peel and pith from the other two oranges. Working over a small bowl to catch juices, cut out each segment from membranes. (Or slice into wheels.)
  4. For citrus oil: Chop enough of the remaining orange strips to get 1 tablespoon In a 10-inch skillet combine chopped strips, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the garlic, and thyme. Heat over low heat 5 minutes or until warm; set aside.
  5. To serve, on a platter combine orange segments and juices, couscous, red onion, pinenuts and olives. Drizzle with red wine vinegar. Spoon citrus oil over top. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and, if desired, crushed red pepper.

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Adapted from a recipe by Better Homes and Gardens