After a Thanksgiving weekend of eating richer foods than I’m used to (and in greater quantities), I was excited to get back to my kitchen to prepare something a bit lighter for dinner on Sunday evening. But I still wanted something warm and comforting, something suitable for the chilly, rainy weather. So I decided to prepare a simple roast chicken, with a wonderfully flavorful side dish of roasted seasonal vegetables with couscous.
This recipe, adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris, is perfect with roasted or grilled chicken, pork or salmon. I make it often, and the leftovers turn into a tasty salad for lunch the next day. With a hint of cumin and saffron, this couscous recipe is a bit Moroccan (read more about my love of Moroccan food and see a recipe for chicken tagine). But its depth of flavor isn’t linked to one cuisine, and it can go with just about anything. Feel free to substitute other vegetables if you’d like: parsnips, turnips or eggplant would work well.
COUSCOUS WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES
1 generous cup diced (3/4-inch) butternut squash
1 large onion, diced (3/4-inch)
1 zucchini, diced (3/4-inch)
2 large carrots, diced (3/4-inch)
freshly ground pepper
1 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup couscous
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
pinch of saffron threads
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the vegetables with a splash of olive oil; spread in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender but not soft (test with the tip of a paring knife). When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a large bowl; add parsley.
In a small saucepan, add the chicken stock, cumin and saffron, plus a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil; stir in couscous. Cover pan and take off the heat; let sit for about 5 minutes until the broth is absorbed. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Add couscous to vegetables and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.