Israeli couscous is much larger than the more common North African couscous. I really like it as the base for a salad so am happy to see it popping up in more and more supermarkets. It is also sometimes called "pearl couscous" or Lebanese couscous. This recipe is a great side dish year round. It can be served warm or room temperature, and goes as well with roasted salmon as it does with poultry or red meat. I also love the leftovers when I am looking for a quick lunch or snack. This recipe is also great for a crowd and can easily be doubled or tripled.
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 box israeli couscous (6.3 ounces, about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 ounces portobello or crimini mushrooms, coarse stems removed, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350°. Place almonds on a sheet pan in a single layer and toast until fragrant and golden brown. Set aside.
Place cranberries and red wine vinegar in a small bowl and stir so all cranberries are moistened. Set aside.
Heat half the olive oil in medium pot set over high heat and add the cous cous. Cook, stiring constantly, until couscous is golden brown. Add stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until all liquid has been absorbed and couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
While the couscous is simmering, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until nicely browned. Remove from heat and stir into the cooked couscous. Add almonds, cranberries and their liquid, and parsley and stir to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.