Healthy and really delicious! This recipe came from my friend Nancy Arkuss.
Food Editor's Notes: I originally tried this recipe when I was looking for something different that might be appropriate for Purim. This is a Sephardic-style recipe with fruits and nuts, certainly appropriate for the holiday, but an absolutely delicious side dish for any time of year. It is incredibly easy to make as well, and very healthy. What more could one ask for? You can leave out the nuts and raisins if you wish (my son's preference), but they add not only extra flavor and textures, but color as well. I used dates, left the nuts in halves and wholes instead of chopping, and I didn't feel that salt and pepper were even necessary. Enjoy!
2 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sticks cinnamon, halved
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup dried apricots, dates, prunes, or figs
1 10-ounce box couscous [Food Editor's note: I use Near Eastern brand]
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1/2 cup shelled natural pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
In a 3-quart saucepan, bring the water, oil, cinnamon, cumin, salt, and apricots or other fruits to a boil. Stir in a box of couscous and let stand covered off heat for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and transfer to a serving piece to cool quickly. Cool completely and break up any lumps. This may be made a day ahead, chilled and covered. Bring to room temperature. Fluff again with fork and stir in currants, nuts, and mint and salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.
Brenda Freishtat also contributed this recipe to Second Helpings, the wonderful cookbook of The Second Step. For more information on The Second Step and the cookbook, please call 617-965-3999 or visit www.thesecondstep.org.
Couscous with Dried Fruits and Pistachios