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Israeli Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes

Israeli (aka Pearl) Couscous is something I haven’t tried before. I’ve seen it used in recipes and heard about it, but have never actually eaten it. So when we saw a box of it for sale at Trader Joe’s, I snapped it up, and began searching for recipes in which to use my unique find.

This recipe is a keeper. It reminds me a lot of the Mediterranean Orzo and Chicken Salad recipe we made this summer, both in flavor and in mouth feel. I think orzo and pearl couscous are very similar, so if you can’t find the later, orzo is a good substitute.

We added half of a rotisserie chicken for some protein, and so we could eat this as our entire dinner. It’s eaten cool or room temperature. We always like meals like that because I can get photos, Taylor can get all the dishes done, and we don’t have to worry about our food getting cold. It’d be a good summer meal, but also a good winter meal when your tired of all the hot and heavy foods.


Pearl Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes

Makes 6 servings. Recipe from Epicurious.

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For roasted tomatoes and dressing
2 pints red grape or cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 pound)
3 large garlic cloves, left unpeeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For couscous
2 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 1/4 cups pearl (Israeli) couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 roasted chicken, shredded (optional)


Roast tomatoes and make dressing:
Preheat oven to 250°F.

Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange, cut sides up, in 1 layer in a large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan. Add garlic to pan and roast in middle of oven until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes.

Peel garlic and purée with oil, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes in a blender until dressing is very smooth.

Make couscous:
Bring broth to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and stir in couscous, then simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes.

Spread couscous in 1 layer on a baking sheet and cool 15 minutes.

Transfer couscous to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients, dressing, roasted tomatoes, chicken (if using), and salt and pepper to taste.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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