Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Saffron Couscous with Vegetables

Saffron Couscous with Vegetables

One of my all-time favorite recipes comes from a nearly ten-year-old recipe out of Cooking Light.  It's kind of funny to think back to a world before Pinterest, Facebook, and blogs.  All of my new ideas for recipes came from three different magazines I subscribed to:  Cooking Light, Eating Well, and Southern Living.  The magazines would pile up with dog-tagged pages.  Every month I'd try something new and healthy for the family.  Sometimes the new dish was a hit and sometimes it was a big miss.  When something came along that warranted oohs and ahs from my taste testers, then that dog-eared page was torn out and put into "the folder".

Oh, my

A vast wasteland is what it looks like, but trust me in the fact that it contains recipe after recipe that I adore.  I never said they were organized in any form or fashion, but it's all there.  About once a year I will go through the pile and find a recipe or two that I'd completely forgotten about.  It's like looking through an old photo album and being surprised that you'd forgotten something happened.  In this case, I was pleasantly surprised over and over again to find some of my old, forgotten favorites dishes and desserts.

Over the summer, as I was doing my annual perusal and looking for ideas, I came across one of my old favorites. How in the world could I have forgotten about it? Tagine of Chicken and Chickpeas from a 2006 issue of Cooking Light magazine.  Glory be to heaven! You cannot imagine my joy in finding this wonderful meal.  Oh, if only I'd had Pinterest back then.  The recipe calls for a mixture of dark and white meat chicken covered in ginger, turmeric, and sweet paprika.



The sautéed chicken is chopped into smaller pieces and then sautéed again with onions, seeded plum tomatoes, and finally chickpeas.





Sprinkle with a smattering of cilantro and you have a flavorful and tender chicken dish.  All that's needed is the perfect side.

Of course, I wouldn't mention the perfect side unless I already had one.  The recipe in the magazine suggests serving the tagine with a Saffron Couscous and Zucchini Ribbons on top.  I adapted the recipe and changed out the ribbons for chopped zucchini.  The side dish works well on its own with a piece of naan bread, with a grilled chicken dish, or seafood.  The couscous soaks up the saffron broth and the fresh vegetables are delicious, especially those fresh peas that go pop in your mouth.

Saffron Couscous with Vegetables

Adapted from Cooking Light (2006).

For a print-friendly version of this recipe, go to: https://sites.google.com/site/saffroncouscouswithvegetables/

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 Zucchini, chopped into one inch pieces
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into one inch pieces
3 cups broth (chicken or veggie is fine)
1 cup couscous
1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup fresh peas or frozen peas (thawed)
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)

Directions:
In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and saute for five minutes or until onion becomes translucent.  Add the chopped zucchini and carrots, continuing to saute for another five minutes or until vegetables have softened slightly.


In a large pan, heat over high heat the broth and saffron.  When the broth comes to a boil, add the couscous, peas, salt and pepper, and the sauteed vegetables.  Wait five minutes.  All of the liquid should be absorbed.  Use a spoon or fork to fluff up the mixture.  Add cilantro to top before serving.


Saffron Couscous with Vegetables

Saffron Couscous with Vegetables