Spring

Israeli Couscous with Peas and Bacon

April 16, 2010
Author Notes

I am always looking for an excuse to use Israeli couscous—I love the texture, and I love how quickly it cooks, which is very important after a long day at work. For a more traditional flavor combination, you could replace the thyme with mint, and omit the lemon juice. If fresh peas aren't available, thaw frozen peas, but don't add until most of the liquid is absorbed. - cottageindustrialist —cottageindustrialist

Test Kitchen Notes

What a great way to eat your vegetables! The bacon in this recipe serves two masters: the rendered fat builds a silky smooth foundation for the plump peas and pearls of Israeli couscous, and the meaty bits lend texture and crispness. Layers of sweet shallot and pecorino romano add intensity and the coveted umami. Then, the fresh lemon juice slices through all that richness for a sunny finish. I ate this as a main dish, and had to restrain myself from dishing out a third helping (okay, so I had a small third helping!). I couldn't find good quality fresh peas at my local markets so I used frozen peas with excellent results. - mariaraynal —The Editors

  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 3 ounces bacon, sliced into thin strips.
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup israeli couscous
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 8 ounces fresh, shelled english peas
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano, grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium heat, sauté the bacon until all the fat has rendered, and the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Lowering the heat to medium low, sweat the shallots until they are becoming translucent. Squeeze the juice of half of the lemon into the pan to deglaze, and stir to release the browned bits.
  3. Add the uncooked couscous, and stir to coat with the bacon grease. Toast the couscous for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add water and thyme (and salt, if desired), and turn the heat to medium high. When the water reaches a boil, add the peas.
  5. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until almost all the water has been absorbed, and check for doneness. If the peas or couscous are not yet tender, add more water 1/4 cup at a time until desired doneness is reached. Remove from heat, squeeze in the juice of the other half of the lemon, and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve, stir in the pecorino and the bacon.

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