Couscous with feta, almonds, and raisins

October 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

By now you’re probably thinking: couscous again? Why isn’t this blog just called Couscous Kitchen or something!? But I have to say, if you are not a couscous fan, you will be after this recipe, because it is just so good. Besides, I love couscous for how easy it is to make and how great it tastes and how fast it cooks, and most of all for its versatility. This couscous salad takes its inspiration from Morocco: it has lovely golden raisins, goat’s milk feta, and almonds. There’s a lovely hint of cinnamon and cumin, plus lemon juice to brighten everything up.

Not only is this couscous salad/side dish easy to whip up, it also works great both as a weeknight dinner dish, or for a takealong to a potluck, as it’s great both hot or at room temperature. Basically, this is that great standby recipe that has saved me at the last minute more times than I can count and I’m thrilled to finally be sharing it here…once I finally planned ahead to make  and photograph it, of course!

To begin, toast 1/3 cup of almonds in a skillet over low heat until golden. It usually takes a few minutes, and remove the skillet from heat and move out the almonds once they hit golden brown, or just before. Also, stirring frequently, while it might seem a bit hassle-y, is worth it for the taste and burn prevention.

Once the almonds are nicely toasted, simply pour them into the serving bowl.

Meanwhile, boil one cup of water along with a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and two teaspoons of cumin, plus a generous pinch of salt.

While the couscous mixture comes to a boil, add 1/2 cup of golden raisins to the almonds.

Then crumble in three ounces of goat’s milk feta. I got this cheese from my local farmer’s market, but if goat’s milk feta isn’t available, regular cow’s milk feta works fine too.

By now the couscous water-mixture is probably boiling, so add in the 3/4 cups of couscous (regular or whole-wheat both work great in this recipe).

Pop on the lid and let cook for five minutes after removing the pot from heat.

Stir it all around, and then scoop the couscous into the mixing bowl. Add in the juice of half a lemon (about two tablespoons or so), and add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy hot, or serve later at room temperature; this one keeps in the refrigerator for up to two days – just remove it from the refrigerator at least twenty minutes before serving. You could also reheat it too, if that floats your boat.

Couscous with feta, almonds, and raisins

Serves four

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • One tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • One teaspoon cinnamon
  • Two teaspoons cumin
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Three ounces goat’s milk feta
  • 3/4 cups couscous (regular or whole-wheat)
  • Juice of half a lemon (about two tablespoons)

1. Toast almonds in a skillet over low heat, until golden. Be careful to keep the almonds moving, and watch to make sure they don’t burn. Once they are fragrant and golden, put the almonds in the serving/mixing bowl.

2. Meanwhile, combine one cup of water, olive oil, cinnamon, and cumin. Bring to a boil. Add couscous, replace lid on pot, and remove from heat. Let sit for five minutes.

3. While the couscous is cooking, add the raisins and crumble in the feta to the almonds.

4. Once the couscous is cooked, mix it into the almonds, raisins, and the feta. Add the lemon juice, and then salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot immediately, or serve at room temperature; remove from the refrigerator about twenty minutes before serving.

Note: the couscous can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days before serving.

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