I bought about 5-6 cups of Israeli couscous on a whim the other day and wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with it. I’ve been on a mushroom kick, recently, which is all well and good, but I just couldn’t decide how I wanted to put the two together. I decided to balance the mushrooms and some spicy sausage (which is, of course, optional) against the sweetness of Lillet, honey, and green onions. The olive oil I used was from the Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company, and was infused with cilantro and roasted onions, but any good olive oil would be perfectly fine.
- 2 cups Israeli couscous
- 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp nice olive oil
- 4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium or a light broth would be better)
- 8-12 oz mushrooms, preferably multiple kinds (I used a mixed bunch)
- 3 tbsp Lillet or sweet white wine
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp rubbed sage
- 2 links spicy sausage (optional)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 green onions
- Optional additions: pine nuts, sultanas or raisins, parsley
- Lightly sautée the couscous in 2 tbsp of nice olive oil in a deep skillet or a pot until fragrant and toasted.
- Add the broth to the couscous and bring to a boil, then set, uncovered, to simmer for about 10-12 minutes until the liquid is all either evaporated or absorbed, stirring occasionally.
- While the couscous is simmering, slice up the sausage into thin disks (if using) and start frying in a separate skillet.
- Cut up the mushrooms how you please (see below) and add to the sausage with another tbsp of nice olive oil.
- Once the mushrooms have started to cook down and lose some of their mass/absorb some of the oil, add the Lillet or wine, the garlic, the sage, and the honey, stirring frequently.
- If the mushrooms and sausage (if using) finish first, move them to the serving bowl. Once the couscous is finished, toss with the mushroom mixture.
Serve with something bright like a Vesper or sparkling water with a dash of citrus bitters. Goes well cold as well, with a dash of basalmic vinegar.
A note about cutting the mushrooms: it’s really fun to play with texture with foods, so I’ve been having fun playing around with things of the same genearal size and shape but of different textures. The mixture of mushrooms that I used included two kinds of slender, small mushrooms that I tossed in whole, but two kinds of larger, beefier mushrooms. These I chopped up to be about the same size as the finished couscous, and they wound up coming out a similar color. This lead to what looked like a homogeneous mixture, but the mushrooms were a little chewy, whereas the couscous was tender and just past al dente, leading to a more varied mouth-feel. I know that these mixed packs aren’t too common though, so if you wind up with just one time (I’d suggest crimini, oyster, or baby portabella), I’d choose just one way to cut them, and some will be better simply halved or sliced.