Friday, May 25, 2007

Tunisian Couscous Pilaf with Chickpeas, Almonds, and Dates

From Family Health Cookbook, 1997 (Pocket Books)

Spicy and sweet Middle-Eastern-style dish, goes well with other spicy foods and yogurt.

Makes 4 main dish servings, or twice the side dish servings

  • 2 tbs olive oil, preferably extra virgin
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • .5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • .5 tsp ground coriander seed
  • .5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups defatted lower-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 4 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates (yum!)
  • 1 box (10 oz) or 1.33 cups raw couscous
  • .5 tsp salt
  • .25 cup sliced natural almonds
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan wtih a lid or in a Dutch oven.
  2. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, strring frequently until lightly browned, about 8 minutes
  3. Add the garlic, along with the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, coriander, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for one minute
  4. Add 2.5 of the 3 cups of broth, lemon juice, lemon peel, chick-peas and dates.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the couscous and salt, stir once with a fork and remove the pan from the heat. Set it aside, covered, for five minutes until the couscous absorbs the liquid and softens.
  8. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a small skillet set over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly brown and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes (I found this takes longer)
  9. Fluff the couscous with a fork and season with additional salt if necessary and pepper to taste.
  10. Stir in the remaining .5 cup of broth and heat through over low heat
  11. Turn the couscous onto plates and spinkle with the almonds and scallions before serving.