Sheet Pan

Curried Couscous Timbales with Pistachios, Orange and Cranberries

February 19, 2013
Author Notes

Because couscous has the potential to be very bland, I have punched it up with a lemony curry dressing. With the fruit elements in this starch, you could also play with fruited or smoky teas instead of water for soaking the couscous; both work well with the curry flavors as well. You can certainly save the effort of the timbales and serve the couscous in a mound, but the timbales are so pretty and clean on the plate! —LE BEC FIN

  • Serves 14-16 (about 8 cups)
Ingredients
  • Couscous
  • 1 box Cous Cous,plain or wheat
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • ½ Cup Scallions , finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Orange Zest , minced
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries Chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
  • Curry vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 T cumin(whole seeds that have been toasted and ground to a fine powder)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Madras Curry Powder to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Make cous cous according to directions on package. Soften cranberries in hot water for a few minutes, drain and chop. To the couscous add the pistachios, orange zest, cranberries and scallions. Shake the curry vinaigrette very well and mix in enough until well flavored and moist but not soggy (about 1- 1 1/2 cups.) Let sit awhile to absorb flavors (can be done 3-4 days in advance.) Before forming the timbales, taste couscous and add salt, seasoning or curry vinaigrette as needed for robust flavor and moist texture. (Couscous, like potatoes, always needs more salt and seasoning because they absorb so readily.)
  2. For Curry Vinaigrette: place all but oil in food processor. Combine well and drizzle in oil with processor running. Season as needed.
  3. Fill non-stick muffin tins with couscous, pressing down firmly.Place an identical but empty muffin tin on top of the filled tin so that the empty tins fit on top of the filled tins. Set them together on a sheet pan in the frig. On the empty tin , add 5 or more total pounds of weight on the left and right sides of the top, to compact the molded couscous below. Leave for a few hours up to a week.
  4. Remove from the frig and remove the weights and empty muffin tin. Place a serving tray or cookie sheet upside down on top of the filled muffin tin. Holding both together firmly, flip them over onto a flat surface. Holding them together on the left and right, bang down on the flat surface a few times to release the timbales. Lift an edge of the muffin tin and see if they have released. If not, bang on the problem tins with the palm of your fist and they should release. Lift up the muffin tin. Garnish each with a sprig of flat parsley and let timbales sit at room temperature awhile before serving with a flat spatula.

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I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom. I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??! While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines. Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!) I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me. I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.