Couscous with Peas & Mint. Funky, refreshing, and delicious.
Also quick and easy to prepare.
This is the couscous that I made to go with the Shrimp with Fennel & Garlic featured in yesterday’s post. As I mentioned there, not only was this a great side dish and compliment to the shrimp, but it was also amazingly good served cold the next day as a salad.
This recipe is also adapted from the new Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Although she uses regular, small couscous and I used the bigger, pearl or Israeli couscous, either couscous option will be delicious.
Here’s what you need:
Couscous, Peas, Mint, Onion, Pine Nuts, Chicken (or Vegetable) Broth, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper.
While you prepare the other ingredients, have 1½ cups (12 ounces) of frozen peas thawing at room temperature.
Finely chop 1/2 of a medium onion (about 1/2 cup) and sauté it in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat.
Cook the onion until it is golden and tender but not browned – about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of pearled couscous to the pot and stir it to cover all of the little couscous bits in olive oil.
Add 3 cups of chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Vegetarians should obviously substitute vegetable stock or water here. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the water has all been absorbed – about 10-12 minutes.
Note: there are a couple of methods of cooking pearled couscous. I’m using the simmer method but you can also bring it to a boil, cover the pot, and take it off the heat to allow the couscous to steam. OR you can cook couscous like pasta and drain off any excess broth that doesn’t absorb into the couscous. It’s your choice. All of the methods work and produce nice, fluffy grains of couscous.
While the couscous cooks, lightly toast 1/3 cup of pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat. This should only take 3-5 minutes. Keep an eye on the nuts so they don’t burn or get too brown.
Strip the leaves off several stems of fresh mint and chop or cut them into ribbons. You’ll need about 1/2 cup of chopped mint.
After 10-12 minutes of simmering, your couscous should be ready. Taste a grain or two to see if it is tender and light. If you have a lot of excess broth, drain it off the couscous. Most if not all of the liquid should have already been absorbed. Add 1½ cups of thawed peas to the pot and stir them into the warm couscous.
Take the pot off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves and the toasted pine nuts. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
SO good. The mint is really the secret ingredient to this simple and light side dish.
This would be a perfect counterpart to almost any chicken or grilled meat and would make a great salad all on its own. Great served hot or cold.
Here’s the recipe: Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust