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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Israeli Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes

I know I've mentioned that I love mixing up large batches of grain mixtures because it provides an easy lunch throughout the week. However, sometimes I get pretty sick of eating all of the food by myself. They always contain a lot of vegetables to suit my preference, and because Ron won't eat them, I'm stuck eating it all by myself. I can assure you that 4+ days of rice and beans can get pretty damn old after a while.

So I halved this recipe and the modifications were pretty easy. I cooked about 20 ounces of chicken to shred so I could have some leftover for sandwiches and wraps. I love olives and I'm a big fan of the pearl couscous so this meal was pretty great. I must admit that halfway through eating this meal, I was pretty upset that I didn't make the full recipe (reflected below). It is SO good. You can omit the chicken and use it as a side dish for an actual roasted chicken or fish meal. I ate this, with the shredded chicken, and with a slice of the whole wheat sunflower bread I recently baked. Yum!
Note: while the recipe did not involve a lot of hands-on time, there was a lot of time spent waiting for the tomatoes to cook/cool, couscous to cook/cool, chicken to cook, etc. So, plan ahead. It took me about 2 hours from start to table time.

Israeli Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes
adapted from Love and Olive Oil
Yield: 6 servings
For Roasted Tomatoes
  • 2 pints red grape or cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 pound) 
  • 3 large garlic cloves, left unpeeled 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup warm water 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 
    • (I used 1/2 tsp lime juice because I accidently threw out my lemon :-/) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
For Couscous: 
  • 2 3/4 cups chicken broth 
  • 2 1/4 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and chopped 
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • Shredded chicken (optional) 

Tomatoes and Dressing: 
  1. Preheat oven to 250°F. 
  2. Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange, cut sides up, in 1 layer in a large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan. Add garlic to pan and roast in middle of oven until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes. 
  3. Peel garlic and puree with oil, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes in a blender until dressing is very smooth. 
For Couscous: 
  1. Bring broth to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and stir in couscous, then simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. 
  2. Spread couscous in 1 layer on a baking sheet and cool 15 minutes. 
  3. Transfer couscous to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients, dressing, roasted tomatoes, chicken (if using), and salt and pepper to taste.

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