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Couscous with Vegetables and Herbs

Serves: Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
  • ½ cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
  • ½ cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh savory or thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried savory or thyme
  • ½ cup chicken stock or top-quality chicken broth
  • ¾ cup couscous
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Procedures:

Most people think couscous is a grain, but it is actually made from a semolina flour dough formed into small, grain-like shapes. It comes in such small beads that it cooks in a flash; just a few minutes with hot stock and the couscous becomes tender and fluffy. The couscous used here is the traditional North African type, as compared to Israeli couscous, which comes in larger, pearl-sized spheres.
For an added dose of color, I’ll sometimes use 1/2 red bell pepper and ½ yellow bell pepper rather than just the red, and stir in finely chopped green onions just before serving. If you are using shelled fresh spring peas, blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute before adding to the skillet.
  1. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender and aromatic. Add the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring to blend. Stir in the peas, parsley, lemon juice, and savory. Set aside.


  2. Bring the stock just to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the couscous, cover, and let sit off the heat for 5 minutes.


  3. Fluff the couscous with a fork and add to the vegetables, stirring to evenly mix. Stir in the basil and lemon zest with salt and pepper to taste.

by Sur La Table & Renée Behnke

 
 
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