Ever since I’ve learned the glory that is couscous, I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate it into my meals. One of the ways I’ve been looking into is as a replacement (or complement) to rice; giving an old favorite a twist. That’s how I came up with today’s recipe.

Onion, Garlic, Carrots and Butter

When I was in high school I worked at the local Arbys restaurant. It was close enough to walk (no car) and far less disgusting than the nearby McDonalds (which was quite disgusting). Oh, and we had a frozen custard station which was friggin’ awesome. One of the side dishes we sold with our rotisserie chicken was rice pilaf which was, for an uncultured high-schooler, quite tasty. It had small bits of vegetables and almond slivers. I decided to use this as my inspiration.

The Makings of a Pilaf

Pilaf is a dish in which rice is lighty sauted in butter or oil and often well-seasoned. I decided to go mild on the seasoning; relying instead on a high quality stock. This recipe can be easily modified per your seasoning or vegetable preferences, but I suggest giving it a shot as a complement to your main course.

Couscous and lentil pilaf

Couscous and Lentil Pilaf
Without a high quality stock to enhance the flavor, this dish will be very mild in taste. Consider spice alternatives.
2 tablespoons butter
1 small oinion; diced
1 clove garlic; minced
1 carrot; diced
1/2 cup green lentils
1/2 cup couscous
1 cup peas (if frozen, thawed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
4 cups high quality stock
1/4 cup almond slivers

Bring the lentils to a boil in 1 1/2 cup of water and simmer for 12 minutes. Strain and set aside. While the lentils are cooking, lightly toast your almond slivers.

Melt the butter under medium-low heat and sweat the onion, garlic and carrots for 10 minutes; stirring occasionally. Add the lentils, couscous, peas, salt, cumin and stock and bring to a boil under medium-high heat. Reduce to low and cover, letting it simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave on the burner uncovered until light and fluffy; approximately five minutes. Add your almonds and any additional salt to taste. Enjoy.

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