Inspired Citrus Cous Cous

Susan says…

The Fork You crew recently enjoyed another great lunch at South Hills Market and Cafe.  Yes, I got the ham and brie…again.

shmc-cous-cous

SHM&C's Citrus Cous Cous

I enjoy looking at all the food in the cases as we walk to our table. I noted foie gras with apple, broccolini, crab cakes, meatloaf, organic whole roasted chicken, Monroe County roasted potatoes and more.  I considered buying food for tonight’s dinner, but Ron already told me about his plan for Thai peanut chicken for dinner.  Oh well, next time I will take food home.

A new Market Side graced the glass front cases: Citrus Cous Cous.  I usually get the Pastina – tiny balls of pasta, reminiscent of BBs, combined with feta, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives and a vinaigrette finish – but today the pastina was absent from the available options.  I was not at all interested in the beet salad, although Daniel tried it once, and the Mediterranean salad had a lot of artichoke hearts in it.  Good for other people, but I’m not that crazy about the ingredient.  There was a fourth option but I don’t recall what it was.  I chose the cous cous because it was the lesser of the four evils, so to speak.

Wow!  Was it ever tasty!  I would never voluntarily eat golden raisins or cranberries, both star ingredients of this dish.  However, combined with the subtle bite of the green onion, the flavors were complimentary.  SHM&C is one of those places, like Delish and Vandalia Grille, where you need to trust.  These folks know how flavors play together on the palate.  You likely can’t miss with anything on the menu.

Daniel and Misty both bought a pint of cous cous to take home for around $4. 

I didn’t take any home, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the delicious cous cous.  Having enough of the torture, I decided to try my hand at recreating the dish at home.  Maybe Chef Arbaugh will write in and tell me how close I came to the mark.  My version tasted pretty darn good to me!  Misty said “I think I like yours better.  It’s orangey-er.”

citrus-cous-cous

The Ingredients

Here’s my recipe:

1 box whole wheat quick-cooking cous cous – plain flavor – I used Near East brand
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 orange
chicken stock
3 green onions
1/2  to 1 cup golden raisins
1/2 to 1 cup dried cranberries
Zest half the orange and reserve.   Juice the orange.  Add the juice and enough chicken stock to measure the total amount of liquid called for on the box directions for the cous cous.  Put the liquid, the olive oil, and the salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  When the liquid boils, add the cous cous and remove from heat.  Put a lid on it and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and transfer cous cous to a serving bowl to cool.  Thinly slice the green onions.  Add the green onion, cranberries, golden raisins and reserved orange zest to the cous cous and combine.  Chill the cous cous until ready to serve.
Variation ideas:  add some chopped fresh mint or toasted slivered almonds. 
citrus-cous-cous-close
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10 responses to “Inspired Citrus Cous Cous

  1. Looks delicious! I definitely want to try this out.

  2. I think he plumped his golden raisins in OJ. His was much more acidic especially after a night in the refrigerator.

  3. Never had anything at SHM I didn’t find completely underwhelming.

  4. I ate at SHMC for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and because of Susan’s rave reviews of the ham and brie sandwich, I tried it. I was tempted by other sandwiches, but I had to see what all the hype was about. The sandwich was good, but a little skimpy on the ham. It reminded me of the wimpy sandwiches at Mr. Wilson’s. I also would have liked more of the mustard/mayo mixture. I could barely taste it. (Susan, I agree, there’s something “special” about the bread, but I can’t seem to pinpoint it. Seems like plain old white bread, but it’s so not.)
    I’d get the sandwich again, maybe after I tried a couple of others. My mom got the club and it was huge. A little envy there for me!

    The star of my lunch that day was the fire roasted creamy tomato soup. It was delicious and reminded me a lot of the similar soup at the Blossom, except SHMC’s version didn’t seem to have as much cheese, if any, in it.

    The cous cous looks delicious! I’ll have to try it at home.

    • It is really only a grilled ham and cheese sammy. I’ve never understood the hype. Misty is pretty dead set on the chicken salad every time we go. I’ve had the build your own burger two times – this time I had mushrooms and goat cheese on the burger. Yum. We split a flourless chocolate cake four ways. Dark, dense and delicious.

      As far as food in Charleston goes SHMC is one of the best, but everyone is entitled to an opinion even Sag.

  5. only? ONLY???

    It is no ordinary ham and cheese. It is ham and BRIE cheese. You can’t get brie on a sandwich at Mr. Wilson’s. You can’t get brie on a sandwich at any of the other regular sandwich joints around.

    The ham is an aside for me. And, of course, I 86 the mustard/mayo. I get it for the toasty, buttery bread and the creamy, melty brie.

    Mmmmmm….

  6. I LOVE that there aren’t three inches of ham on the sandwich…it means you can actually taste the brie and the fabulous bread.

  7. One last thought the olive oil will lend more flavor than you are actually looking for in this dish, plus for the restaurant, I can’t put chicken stock because it will not be vegetarian. For at home use I think it is a good idea for the chicken stock but, maybe reduce it until it is almost evaporated to concentrate flavor, then finish with the court bouillon ingredients.

  8. To make the cous cous, I make a court bouillon
    consisting of white wine, rice vinegar, oranges, orange juice, brown sugar, onions, star anise, five spice, (made at the restaurant not store bought)
    and water. I reduce this down by one third, cover, and let stand. I don’t combine the salad until the second day. It becomes more acidic over time. I will ease up on the orange and the vinegar next time. I hope this helps out.. Rich

  9. This is why I am terrible at Wine Club – I am a bad taster. All my notes from wine club are like tis: “I like it”, “tastes good”, “nice dark red color”, etc.

    I just don’t have what it takes to identify all the flavors in what I am tasting.

    The Vegetarian Wife (and others) surely appreciate your sensitivity to their needs by omitting chicken stock. I should have known you wouldn’t do that.

    Personally, I loved it – I wouldn’t change a thing if I were you!

    As for my own version…I am going to add the star anise and the five spice (definitely store bought ;-) ).

    Thanks for writing in!

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