Springtime! I get so excited just thinking about it. Watching the landscape wake up after a winter’s sleep is very captivating to me. I find myself looking out windows and going outside more often. I want to see every single plant and flower as they show new spring growth. The itch to go to plant nurseries is a big one. I have to force myself to wait until it is safe to plant after the last frost. Until then, the herbs that made it through winter help get me through. One of them is parsley:
Today’s #SundaySupper event is celebrating spring. Parsley is a good herb to kick off the season. The freshness and color it adds to a dish is outstanding. Plus it has many health benefits. I use it in a number of recipes including tapenade, shrimp arnean, fresh herb vinaigrette, and the one I am featuring in this post; Israeli couscous with pine nuts and parsley.
This side dish goes wonderfully with grilled meats. Grilling is another thing that gets into high gear starting in spring. I do grill on nice days in the winter but not nearly as often as the rest of the year. I love the flavor from grilling and always have. I still remember steak night when I was little and my dad would cook the steaks and toast the bread on the grill. Those were really special dinners.
Couscous is not something I had while growing up. I never even heard of it until several years ago. The funny thing is that I had it at a restaurant and it was listed on the menu as “special rice”. I guess someone forgot the name of it. But rice? Anyway, no matter what it was called, it was delicious and I had to make some for myself. The next time I went back I asked the chef about his recipe and how he got the nutty flavor to it. He said to substitute light coconut milk for about half of the cooking liquid. I searched for Israeli couscous recipes and found this one on Epicurious. I adapted it to have the same subtle nutty flavor. It is not a strong coconut flavor like you would think. Just a little extra nuttiness in addition to the pine nuts.
Every Sunday Supper deserves a good side dish. This one is light and fresh and feels like spring. So kick off the season by cooking up a yummy batch of Israeli couscous and dream about the warm beautiful days to come. What food do you crave in springtime? Comment and share your favorites of the season. Let’s see the flavors of spring…
Nutty Israeli Couscous
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 2/3 cup pine nuts
- 2/3 cup shallots finely chopped
- 3 cups Israeli toasted couscous
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups + 1 tablespoon low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 can light coconut milk 13.5 ounces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
- Fresh ground pepper
In a heavy large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon over medium-low heat. Add pine nuts and stir until golden brown (about 8 minutes). Transfer to a small bowl.
In the same large pan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Add couscous, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves. Stir until couscous browns slightly (about 5 minutes).
Add broth, coconut milk, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until couscous is tender and the liquid is absorbed (about 10 minutes). Stir in parsley and pine nuts. Season with pepper. Remove and discard cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy!
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