Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Couscous with Pumpkin and Dried Apricots

Dishes such as this one here are perfect for parties and picnics, they're good warm or cold and you can variate the ingredients according to taste and mood... Plus, doesn't it look great?! I love the warm orange color. This is why it caught my attention in the first place when I found it here.

(From: Ottolenghi - The Cookbook)

1 red onion, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons olive oil
50g dried apricots
1 small pumpkin (about 450g), cut into about 2cm dices
250g couscous
400ml chicken or vegetable stock
a pinch of saffron strands
3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
3 tablespoons chopped mint
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
grated zest of 1 lemon
coarse sea salt
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a large frying pan, with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt, sauté the onion over high heat for about 10 minutes while constantly stirring until golden brown, then set aside.

Pour enough hot water over the dried apricots to cover them. Soak for about 5 minutes, then drain and cut into 5mm dices.

Mix the diced pumpkin with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes until lightly colored and quite soft.

While the pumpkin is in the oven, cook the couscous. Bring the stock to boil together with the saffron. Place the couscous in a large, heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling stock over it. Add the remaining olive oil. Cover with cling film and leave for about ten minutes. All the liquid should be absorbed.

With a fork, whisk to fluff up the couscous. Then, add onions, pumpkin, apricots, herbs, cinnamon and lemon zest. Mix well with your hands and try not to mash the pumpkin. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve warmish or cold.

(The book states that "you can keep on piling in the herbs (chervil, coriander, chives - they all work), the more the merrier" and I totally agree with that! I also imagine chopped pistachios to go well with that one. I added some cranberries for the color-effect.)

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