Spicy Couscous With Feta

This tiny Moroccan pasta, made from semolina of hard wheat, has long been a staple food of western North Africa and is becoming a western favorite. From your local grocery shelf to the swank restaurant downtown, the versatility of couscous is becoming appreciated by the home cook and trained chef.

Couscous is inexpensive, quick to prepare, and works well with a variety of meats, vegetables, sauces, or whatever your culinary imagination can create. Sweet or spicy, hot or cold, couscous works in most any food situation. Buy in bulk when possible because you'll want more than what's in one little ol' box once you start adding couscous to your weekly menus.

Cooking Couscous

Couscous can be added to boiling water/broth/juice and will be ready to fluff and serve in five minutes. Purists will tell you to steam couscous for best results. While this may give you excellent texture, it will add at least 30 minutes to the process.

Use couscous as a substitute for rice or larger pasta. Try orange juice or add coconut milk to your broth for a sweet side dish. Experiment by adding raisins, other dried fruits, nuts, most any spice or herb, fresh or dried.

Spicy Couscous with Vegetables and Feta

1 cups frozen peas (or other frozen vegetables)
1/2 - 1 cup sliced carrots (or other desired vegetables)
1 (15.5 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
3 cups hot cooked couscous (prepare according to directions on package using chicken or vegetable broth)
1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped (optional)

Prepare frozen peas according to package directions and add carrots. Add chickpeas during last minute of cooking. Drain and add to couscous. Add cumin, curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and feta cheese. Stir well. Stir in cashews just before serving. Serve hot or warm.

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