I was recently looking for a way to use the very large container of Israeli couscous I'd picked up in the bulk section of Honest Weight Food Co-op. A quick search of the Internet turned up this recipe by Giada De Laurentis, one of my favorite Food Network chefs.
What I especially love is that this recipe is perfect for the autumn season, combining cranberries, apples and almonds, all of which I happened to have on hand. Well, I was a little short on dried cranberries, so I added some raisins to make up the difference. The result was a truly delicious room temperature or cool couscous side dish. I even had the chance to use some of the fresh rosemary and thyme growing in pots on the deck before a frost finishes them off. And see how pretty it is? I snapped that photo before digging in.
Here's Giada's recipe:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Israeli couscous (or barley or orzo)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 medium green apple, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, see Cook's Note
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
For the couscous: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, apple, dried cranberries, and almonds.
For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.
Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before using.