Besides being unbelievably delicious, I love this recipe because of it’s versatility and interesting, yet simple, ingredients. It tastes just as good cold as it does warm, and it makes a nice main entree, or a delectable and aesthetically pleasing side dish. It was my first time making it, but it was always in my refrigerator growing up because my mom cooked a similar version quite often. I would never think to use a cinnamon stick in this, but the marriage of ingredients works so well it’s just plain silly. And with the addition of chewy craisins and an extra crunch from the almonds, this dish went straight to the top of my must-make-for-my-next-party list. Right after I made it, I put some in a container and hid it in the back of the refrigerator, away from Justin’s line of vision, so I could bring it to lunch today. Mission successful.
- 2 Tbsp butter of your choice (I used Earth Balance)
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup Israeli pearl couscous
- 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth or water (I used water because I didn’t have broth)
- 1 large bay leaf or 2 small leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup dried craisins
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds (plus more for garnishing)
- 3 Tbsp chopped basil
- 2 Tbsp orange zest
- In a large pan (with a matching top for later), melt the butter on medium low heat.
- Once melted, bring up to medium heat and add shallots and salt. Saute until golden brown.
- Add in the couscous and saute for another couple of minutes until the couscous is golden brown.
- Add in the broth/water, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 8 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
- While the couscous is cooking, place the almonds in a small pan on medium heat and toast for 3-4 minutes, stirring every half minute. (Or you can do what I did and leave the almonds to burn while you run to the backyard to pick some basil, but I don’t suggest that.)
- Chop the basil and zest the orange.
- When the couscous is finished, remove and discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Place in a large bowl and toss in the basil, orange zest, and craisins. Enjoy hot or cold!