We had some friends over for dinner last month and I was looking for a quick but tasty side dish. I received Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten for Christmas from my parents, so I flipped through it and came across this recipe. It was perfect and truly foolproof. I have great luck with Ina Garten recipes. Other than the fact that she can sometimes be a little heavy-handed with the salt, I have loved all of her recipes that I’ve tried.
I love to “cook” couscous because all that’s really required is boiling some water or chicken stock. Once it boils, you pour in the couscous, let it sit for five minutes and voila! it’s done. The only extra steps with this recipe involve browning some shallots and adding peas, toasted pine nuts and fresh mint. It’s a really nice combination of flavors. If you’re making other things for your dinner party that involve work, give yourself a break and add this to your menu. I served this with Honey Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Gremolata. It was excellent. Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to photograph it before we ate it. I’ll definitely make it again as it was a wonderful recipe. I’ll make this couscous again too!
Couscous with Peas and Mint
Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large shallots)
3.5 cups chicken stock
2 cups couscous
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
12 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup julienned fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook over medium-low heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and put the lid on. Turn off the heat and allow the couscous to steam for 10 minutes. With a fork, fluff the couscous and stir in the peas, mint, and pine nuts. Season to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, you can add 1 more teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Serve hot.
Yield: 8 servings