Savory pistachio & cilantro couscous

As an alternative to the lemon & parsley couscous I usually make to go with my spicy Moroccan meatballs, I decided to try a variation.

photo 2Pistachios always remind me of our visit to Morocco: besides being sold at stalls all over the Djemaa el Fna, that was actually the first time I had ever eaten a pistachio. (Don’t laugh, I’m serious! When I was young, everyone seemed to eat the red-coated nuts, which never appealed to me as being both messy and pointless. As I got older, I just never had an opportunity or thought about it much. And when faced with an ice cream choice, I’m strictly a coffee ice cream girl.)

Since that trip in 2009, I’ve come to really enjoy pistachios, and often keep some in the pantry for recipes or just snacking. And as I had an open container of turkey stock and a half bunch of cilantro to use up, I thought this would make a nice combo in the couscous. Happily, it did. Next time I may go really crazy and add dried fruit–another item sold all over the souks, usually at the same stalls as the nuts. Although, that would make the overall flavor of the dish sweeter, so I would not use that combo with the meatballs; perhaps with a chicken tagine…a recipe for another day!

photo 1Pistachio & cilantro couscous

This is a basic couscous recipe, using stock instead of water. A ratio of 1:1 usually works, but read your package of couscous and follow the proportions there.

  • 1 cup chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 cup couscous
  • about 1/3 cup roasted chopped pistachios
  • 2-3 T chopped cilantro (from about a half bunch)
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon (for final seasoning)

Bring stock to a boil; add couscous, remove from heat and let sit for about five minutes. Add the pistachios and cilantro to the pan and fluff everything together with a fork. Drizzle in a little olive oil, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.

Tip: My package of pistachios, though already roasted, had lost a bit of their “crunch”; I put them on a sheet pan in a 400° oven for about 7 minutes, and that brought their nutty crunch back nicely.

photo 3

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