Curried Couscous

First off I would like to thank everyone for making the start of my Facebook page a success.  I already have a lot of followers in such a short time.  Now for all of you who have a Facebook but didn’t know I had one, please check it out! I’m almost to 100 ‘Likes’ and would absolutely love to hit that milestone!  I am not using it just as a popularity contest just to see how many I could get.  I love how easy it is to talk to people on Facebook rather than the blog networking sites.  Maybe I am just better at maneuvering it, but either way, I think it helps me get to know all of you on a more personal level which makes reading your blogs even that much more exciting!

Show Piggy Tummy some Love!

Anyhoo, back to why you’re really here! Hopefully I haven’t lost you yet with my desperate plea to love my page.  I’m sure most of you who follow my page are fully aware of my full time job as the operations manager of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ, but I do have another job as well!  I work as a ‘Market Chef’ for the College of DuPage.  The program has a small little market where we sell excess food out of.  While students are learning how to make gallons of soups and dozens of croissants instead of throwing them out or giving away tons of food that no one will eat, we sell it!  Students are allowed to take home some of their items to show off to their family but instead of taking a sack full, we request that we leave a lot of the product behind to sell.  As the market chef I have to fill in the gaps when the students cannot produce enough product.  The only catch is that I mainly have to use items left behind.  One item we always had an abundance of was couscous.  There were times where I thought the customers would be couscous’d out but they just kept comin’!  This recipe was definitely my favorite one of all the couscous concoctions I had made.  It has such a unique flavor profile that you can’t help but to keep shoveling it into your mouth to find a new flavor each time.  Spicy, sweet, crunchy, tangy – delicious!  The best thing about this recipe is anything can be switched out to what you have on hand.  For example, I usually make this dish with butternut squash.  Unfortunately that isn’t available to me right now so I used sweet potatoes instead.  I was craving this salad so much that I didn’t sweat the switch out.  This is what I used:

  • 1 box large pearl couscous, cooked, cooled
  • 4 stalks celery, small dice
  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes, medium dice
  • 2 yellow zucchini, medium dice
  • 1 yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • olive oil for sauteeing
  • Rice wine vinegar, as needed (at least 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup blue agave nectar
  • Curry Powder, to taste (I used around 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon Tumeric
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt (Optional) I did not use the yogurt so that it would hold up as nice lunch for work

First, boil couscous according to the directions on the box.  Drain, and set aside.  You can also rinse with cool water to keep from clumping but it will be added to warm vegetables later on, so don’t sweat it too much.  Dice up all your vegetables and saute in a pan of oil, saute the most firm vegetables first.  If going by my list I did sweet potato first for about 8 minutes, then added the onion, then celery, and for the last 5-6 minutes of cooking I added the zucchini so it wouldn’t get squishy.  Add golden raisins to saute mixture.  If your raisins are too dehydrated saute in a pan of sweet liquid, I re hydrated mine in simply apple.  Once all the vegetables are fork tender, not too soft, add couscous to the pan and mix well.  If your pan isn’t big enough, a separate bowl is just fine.  Add tumeric, curry powder, salt, and pepper and coat the couscous.  It should start to be a yellowish color.  Add rice wine vinegar and agave nectar to however sweet or tangy you desire.  Mix in yogurt now too if you choose to use it.  I normally do use the yogurt, but it has been so hot here in Chicago that I didn’t want to worry about temperate safety!

Whats great about this dish is it can be a quick snack, it’s hearty enough to be a complete meal, or can be portioned out to be a side dish for something light such as chicken or fish.  I am absolutley addicted to this flavor profile and I make this as often as I can!  I can’t wait til I can get my hands on some butternut squash to make the original recipe! But this was just as delicious.  Give it a chance – its delicious!