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Jeweled Couscous


Both stunning in appearance and incredibly full-flavored, this side dish is one of my favorites. The candied carrots are super sweet and contrast the lentils, onions, and toasted nuts with perfect balance. The colors are gem-like and worthy of its title. Don’t be wary of the additional steps in this recipe: they can be done ahead of time and stored for days at a time and are very simple in technique too.


Prepare the Jeweled Couscous

1. For the onions: Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until browned. Add turmeric and saffron, and stir. Set aside.
2. For candied orange peels and carrots: Peel oranges, as if peeling an apple, but just remove the thin orange peel, not the white bitter pith. Slice peels very thinly. In a saucepan, place orange peels, shredded carrots, sugar and two cups water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain liquid from orange peels and carrots and allow them to cool and dry.
3. For the lentils: Heat lentils with one and a half cups water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until tender, about seven to 12 minutes. Drain and cool.
4. For the couscous: Heat a six-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add canola oil, two and one-fourth cups water, and salt. When water comes to a boil, add couscous, stir, cover and simmer for eight to 10 minutes. Remove lid, stir, and let cool slightly.
5. To serve: Toss couscous with onions and any accompanying oil, candied carrots and oranges, lentils, pistachios, cranberries, and parsley. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Photography by Chay Berger