Pearl Couscous With Almonds And Raisins– a side dish that can be served with meats or fish, but also a good option for vegetarians.
I love pearl couscous or Israeli couscous as you will find it called sometimes. It has a great flavor and makes a beautiful presence on the plate.
Pearled couscous cooks fast in just few minutes and easily absorbs whatever flavors you choose to pair with it. I do love the small grains of regular couscous, but pearl couscous is my favorite. I find the larger shape more filling and delicious.
Texture-wise, it’s kinda like a cross between barley and pasta; it’s chewy and soft at the same time, and sort of pops in your mouth as you chew it down.
It is made out of durum wheat semolina, so it is pasta. It is also lightly toasted before it is packaged, which results in a deeper and earthier flavor that is more reminiscent of a grain than a pasta. Probably this is the reason that people are sometimes confused about what it is.
A staple in the Middle East countries, pearl couscous is cooked in many ways and can be served as a side dish, as a bed for grilled meat or fish, in beautiful salads with fresh vegetables or even desserts.
The possibilities are endless and this is another reason I love it so much. In general I try to reduce the amount of carbs I eat, so I have to watch the amount of couscous I put on my plate. I could eat lots of it with no shame!
This recipe has some beautiful ingredients that bring lots of flavor to the dish. It is also so easy to make.
I used sliced toasted almonds but pine nuts are great too. A cinnamon stick, a bay leaf, a few raisins, and parsley are all you need to make this dish divine.
Enjoy and let me know what you think!
- 3 Tbsp butter divided
- ½ cup sliced almonds or pine nuts
- ½ cup onion finely chopped
- 1½ cups pearl couscous
- ½ large cinnamon stick
- 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
- 1¾ cups water
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup parsley minced
- zest of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup raisins
- black pepper to taste
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add almonds or pine nuts and stir until golden brown. Then transfer to a small bowl.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the same pan over medium heat.
Add onion and sauté until golden.
Then add the couscous, the cinnamon stick, bay leaf and stir often until couscous is lightly brown.
Pour the water and add the salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce to low heat, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender.
Remove from heat and stir in the parsley, almonds(pine nuts), lemon zest and the raisins.
Season with black pepper to your taste and serve.
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