Couscous with Peas, Artichokes, and Cannellini Beans

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 25,579
    Quick-cooking couscous and low-sodium canned beans are must-haves in a Mediterra¬nean pantry. By tossing them together with fresh herbs and vegetables, you can have a delicious yourwellness dish in less than 25 minutes! If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, simply add a teaspoon of your favorite dried herbs or spice instead.

    Amy Riolo: Hi, I am Chef Amy Riolo with Harris Teeter. Today we are making Israeli couscous with peas, artichokes, and cannellini beans.

    The ingredients which we'll need to get started are, two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, one small yellow onion, one cup Israeli couscous, one and one quarter cups reduced sodium chicken stock, one-half teaspoon sea or kosher salt, one cup English peas, one can artichoke hearts or one package artichoke hearts, one fifteen ounce cannellini beans, one-third cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, that's about two lemons, the zest of two lemons, one-third cup diced cherry tomatoes, one-half cup mint and freshly ground black pepper to taste. So let's get started.

    The first thing which we'll need to do is heat our olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and you can use about two tablespoons of oil to do this. We are just going to make sure that the bottom of our pan is really nice and coated with the olive oil. This is just one small yellow onion and if you are in a hurry or you don't like onions, you can skip this step but if you like onions, it just gives you a nice extra layer of flavor.

    Onions are also really helpful for us and great to eat. Just making sure that they are coated with all of the olive oil and I am turning my heat up a little bit to make sure that the oil gets evenly distributed and that the onion starts cooking quickly.

    This is a great weeknight meal, if you have got left over meat, left over fish or left over chicken, you can go ahead and stir this into your couscous at the end and you have got a really great quick gourmet meal in no time.

    So onions are getting nicely saute over here and now I am going to add in my couscous. This is one cup, and now I am going to stir it around and let it get toasted. Again, this kind of seals the granules with a little bit more flavor, this helps them to hold their shape also when you add the stocks so that it doesn't get mushy. We want this to be nice and al dente and have a lot of good flavor and consistency to it.

    So we are just going to stir these around. I am going to increase my heat a little bit. Every time you add something to the pan, the heat gets a little bit less. The heat actually decreases every time you add something to the pan. So by increasing our heat with each addition, we can save a little bit of time, and then now that we've adjusted, I can turn it down a little bit to medium high.

    So this is beautifully coated, and I can see in here how some of my couscous granules are actually turning a light golden brown and that's exactly what we want. We don't want them to be burned but we want them to just be a little bit golden, have more color to them then what they did when we first brought the couscous, when we first took it out of the package. So that looks beautiful.

    So now that I have got a nice little tan color, I am going to go ahead and add our stock, this is a cup and a quarter of stock. So you always want to keep in mind, if you are using a cup of couscous or Israeli couscous that is, you use a cup and a quarter of stock, this is reduced sodium. If you don't want to use stock you could of course use water that would be great. I am going to add this in, now I am going to stir everything together and this is a beautiful aroma at this point. You are really getting the scent of the onions which has started to caramelize a little bit in the olive oil and that stock. Now we are just going to cover this, let it cook for 10 minutes, when we come back we are going to add all of our vegetables.

    Depending upon the ingredients that you are using, especially the artichokes and the peas you may need to cook them first. If you are using frozen artichokes, and frozen peas straight out of the freezer, you can go ahead and cook them in boiling water for a few minutes just until they are tender and deforested and then drain them. But these artichokes were actually canned. So I just drained and rinsed those, the piece were frozen but they were thawed so I went ahead and drain those after they thawed.

    So I am going to go ahead now and add in my vegetables. Before I stir it up I want to show you just how the Israeli couscous looks. As you can see it's very beautiful and it has those nice big, almost pearl like granules that's exactly what we want and it has a really nice taste and texture to it.

    So now I'll go ahead and add my green peas and a good rule whenever you are dealing with carbohydrates and green vegetables, it's always to use more vegetables than you are using all the carbohydrate and that will give you a lot of nutrients in your meal. And here we have some additional beans for fiber. These are cannellini beans, that just come form the can, that are drained and rinsed. You can get a lot of low sodium or reduced sodium beans now or of course you can boil your own and they add a little of nutrients into the meal. And we are also going to add a third of cup of cherry tomatoes which I have halved, and I'll add in some salt and pepper. This is kosher salt so it's really going to absorb well into what we are doing. Here is a little bit of that black pepper.

    Now I have some freshly chopped mint, you could also put basil in here if you prefer that, and some lemon zest and I love lemon zest because it gives you such a nice citrus flavor, all of those essential oils coming from the skin of the lemon and the peal it really has a lot more lemon flavor in it then even lemon juice does. So I am just going to mix everything together. Now I am going to add in a last ingredient which is my lemon juice.

    You know a lot of times ingredients and recipes really call for something moist. You want to do something at the end and give it a little more liquid or a little bit more punch, sometimes we keep adding more oil or more butter, but we never really get the flavor we want, citrus juice is great for that. Whether you use orange juice, or lemon, or lime, it will always give your food really nice extra flavor, extra nutrients and no extra fat. So it's very healthful.

    So here is our finish Israeli couscous with peas, artichokes and cannellini beans. Enjoy.