I have to make a confession. This is one of the very few entrees I've cooked that did not contain a protein. When I was growing up, dinner had meat, and that was that. However, now that my wife is carrying our future son, I've been trying to cook a little bit healthier, especially on those days we might have enjoyed a little too much southern hospitality at Meme's or given in to that fast food craving. I have to make another confession. This recipe would also be delicious with protein added. Grilled chicken or fish would pair really nicely.
I do believe it's important for people to understand, food is personal. One of the best things I can hope to do is inspire others to be creative. Not only do I NOT get upset if people substitute ingredients in my recipes, I encourage it. The point of it all is to guide others in a direction that ends with them enjoying better food. That's what it's all about. Don't like mushrooms? Kick em'. Add something you do like. Vegetables are great because you could throw just about anything in season into the pot and come out with something simple and delicious.
Although this could certainly be a main dish on it's own, the addition of a protein (as previously stated) could also make it more substantial. This dish could also be used as a side dish, to break up the usual monotony of our recent requirement to cook at home. Whether you serve it as a dish or serve it separately, it's simple and delicious. The dish has a nice sweetness from the corn, a yummy earthiness from the mushrooms and peppers, and fantastic texture and flavor from the couscous. The finish with the aromatic herbs really rounds the dish off and gives it beautiful color. We haven't even talked about the rich, velvety, and buttery pan sauce that coats every bite. I hope you enjoy.
Couscous and Vegetable Skillet
INGREDIENTS (serves 4) 1 cup of dry Couscous 2 ears of corn ½ cup of dried mushrooms, or ⅔ cup fresh mushrooms chopped 1 green or red bell pepper, diced into ½ inch pieces ½ white onion, diced into ½ inch pieces ¼ cup fresh basil, cut into fine ribbons ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped 4 cloves of garlic, minced 4 tbsp of unsalted butter 2 tsp salt 2 tsp black pepper 2 tsp granulated garlic 2 tsp granulated onion For the couscous- Bring 1 ¼ cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add 1 tsp salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and granulated onion to the boiling water and stir well. Next, add the dry couscous and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the couscous about 8-10 minutes covered, or until the cooking liquid is well absorbed. I recommend stirring the couscous more as the liquid cooks down, to avoid some of the cooked couscous sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once couscous fully cooks and the cooking liquid is mostly absorbed, remove it from the heat and set it aside. For the corn- Remove the husk from any fresh corn. Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil and add the corn. Boil the corn about 10 minutes, or until mostly tender. Allow the corn to cool, then remove kernels from the cob with a sharp knife and set aside. To prepare- In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of unsalted butter and wait until it froths. Add garlic, bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms (if they are dried). Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Then, add the cooked couscous, corn, and mushrooms (if they are fresh) along with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp granulated garlic, and 1 tsp granulated onion and the remaining 2 tbsp of unsalted butter. Continue cooking the mixture for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Finally, stir the parsley and basil into the mixture. Cook for an additional minute, then remove the mixture from the heat. Serve immediately while warm.