August 31, 2009

Couscous with Onion, Pine Nuts, & Dried Fruits

Yesterday, I was really in the mood for something with dried fruit and nuts.  I love the combination of chewy and slightly crunchy, the sweetness of the fruit and the complexity of the nuts...  My first instinct was a wheat berry salad, but since I didn’t have time to wait around for the wheat berries to cook for an hour, I went with couscous.  It cooks in five minutes! 


The following recipe is my Sunday afternoon improvisation.  You can use whatever dried fruit and nuts that you have on hand:

Couscous with Onion, Pine Nuts, and Dried Fruits
printable recipe

Serves 2.

1/2 cup dry couscous
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1/3 cup chopped (red) onion
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 oz. dried mango (about 2 slices)
dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
fresh or dried parsley

Soak the dried mango in 1/2 cup warm water.

Prepare the couscous according to package instructions.

Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently,  for a couple of minutes – until they are fragrant and just beginning to brown.  Set aside.

Heat butter or olive olive in the same skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and a few dashes of salt and saut√©, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, translucent and beginning to brown. 

Roughly chop cranberries.  Remove mangoes from water and roughly chop. (Reserve liquid.)

When onions are done, add the cooked couscous and about half of the mango soaking water.   (If using dried parsley, add now.)  Stir over medium heat for a couple minutes, allowing liquid to cook off.  Add dried fruit, pine nuts, salt and pepper to taste, and a dash of cinnamon and fresh parsley, if using.   Toss all ingredients together over medium heat until well combined.   Serve warm or at room temperature.

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