May 25, 2010

Fruit & Nut Couscous

This sweet and fragrant couscous recipe is bursting with chewy fruit and toasty hazelnuts. It is flavorful and unique, with abundant fresh apples, dried currants and apricots keeping everything juicy and moist. These sweet flavors are balanced by the use of rich vegetable stock, sauteed Spanish onion, and crunchy nuts. 

This side is so yummy, it definitely threatens to steal the entire dinnertime show. Since it's so pretty and delicious, pair the couscous with a simple main protein, such as a cut of seasoned and sauteed pork chop or a serving of crispy roast chicken thighs.

Fruit & Nut Couscous: (serves 2)
1/8 cup large hazelnuts, coarsely chopped or halved
1 T. olive oil
1/2 large Spanish onion, diced
1 Gala or Jona Gold apple, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
5 dried apricots, cut in half, then each half cut into three pieces
1/8 cup raisins
1/2 cup couscous
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. apple pie spice
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the hazelnuts and toast lightly, until fragrant, taking care not to burn. Remove nuts onto a separate plate.Turn down heat to medium.

Heat the olive oil in the same saucepan, then add the diced onion, stirring with a wooden spoon to coat. Allow to saute approx. 3 minutes until lightly golden, then add the diced apple pieces and stir. Cook the apples and onions together for a few more minutes until both are golden and fragrant. Add the stock and bring to a gentle boil. Add the apricots, raisins, and couscous and stir. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for five minutes. 

Add cinnamon, apple pie spice, and salt & pepper. Fluff with a fork. Add the toasted hazelnuts back in and stir well, adding a few T of water if the couscous has absorbed too much liquid. Serve immediately.

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