Last night's dinner was a surprise. Not in the "I'm making it for the first time and it's good" surprise-y kind of way. But in the "I forgot how satisfying this is" way. The past few meals I've made, I've always felt a little unsatisfied by it. Not last night. A complete & tasty meal.
Bazaar Couscous! I started making this a few years ago. It's slightly different each time I make it. This was just awesome and to me the best I've had! In a nutshell. You have Israeli Couscous--larger grains than traditional couscous, a variety of nuts, dried fruit, vegetables and spices. All tossed together. I gave it the name because it felt like something I'd come up with if I were exploring a Persian marketplace.
What made last night so good? Usually the couscous is a side to a piece of chicken. Well, why not make it a one pot, one bowl meal? So I cut the chicken up, spiced it up with my own blend of spices--Baharat spice blend. Once nearly cooked through, I added diced red onion and diced carrot. Let that start to soften. Add diced red & green bell peppers. Season with Zatar spice blend and Charnushka seeds. Stir in the cooked couscous with dried cherries and golden raisins. Finish with diced tomatoes and toasted almonds and pistachios. Finish with a light sprinkle of extra Baharat. Serve hot. The only thing missing was some awesome flatbread and a bit of chopped parsley, maybe.
And with only a single tablespoon of oil--avocado oil--it's pretty good for you. A fair amount of starch from the couscous, plenty of veggies and fruit, lean protein from the chicken and nuts. I only had a small bit of seconds!!!! Seriously good! And BTW, if you want to make this vegetarian--just skip the chicken. I'm sure you could add some tofu if you wanted...or add extra veggies...whatever you like!
A final note...if you cook with nuts, know that you can enhance the flavor and 'freshen' them up if they've gone stale by giving them a quick toasting either in a dry pan on the stove top or in the oven. I prefer the stove top, as I feel I have more control. I did this with both the almonds and pistachios. But only one at a time, they may toast at different times and you don't want to burn them. Just keep tossing them and moving them about so they don't scorch and get nasty.