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Author Notes: In keeping with the couscous theme this week, I have created this Moroccan inspired couscous, using dried cranberries left over from the Holidays and toasted pine nuts (called Piñons where I come from). One of my favorite childhood memories is cracking open these hard-shelled little nuts with my teeth and slipping them (sometimes still warm from roasting) into my mouth. The effort the hard shells created made it all the more worth it. The Piñon tree is revered in New Mexico and regularly grows to be over 150 years old. My parents would drive over to a little farm just outside of Santa Fe and we each would covet our little bag. The fact that I can now actually buy a whole bag of Pine Nuts from Whole Foods any time I want to is still secretly thrilling to me.
This recipe combines my love of pine nuts and Moroccan inspired cuisine and I am again, secretly thrilled to be able to use my left over dried cranberries from Christmas!
Serves aprox 12 as a side dish to a main course
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cup dry couscous
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dried cranberries (chopped)
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 2/3 cups chopped fresh mint + a few reserved sprigs for garnish
- 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup blood orange slices -- membrane removed and chopped small
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 3/4 teaspoons turmeric
- Bring chicken broth, 3 Tbs. olive oil and salt to a boil. Add couscous, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile: toast pine nuts over medium to medium low heat in a dry heavy-bottomed skillet - Making sure to stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the oils begin to glisten on their skins and they are nicely golden in color.
- Remove lid from couscous and fluff with fork. Dump into a large bowl. Let cool a bit and then add chopped dried cranberries, toasted pine nuts. fresh squeezed lemon juice, the remaining 2 Tbs. of olive oil, the blood oranges, agave and turmeric. Toss gently.
- Garnish with a few sprigs of mint and serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Couscous Dish