Israeli Couscous Pilaf with Carrot & Jerusalem Artichoke
Pretty to look at, pretty easy to make... and pretty delicious to eat... that's exactly what this dish is! Using a few simple ingredients, having a bit of fun in preparing and being willing to go out on a limb a little, was all it took to make this wonderful meal- don't you want to give it a go too?
I love the flavor of topinambour, or "Jerusalem Artichokes" as they are also known... but never really know what to do with them! Soup is delicious... but obvious! But at the same time- the thing I decided to do with them should have been more obvious still... to combine them with Israeli couscous!
It may look like it was complicated to make, but actually it was almost literally childs-play! Which of course, made it the perfect way for me to relax after a tough day at work and to let me feel like an 8 year old in a art & craft class again- haha!
To prepare this great dish I needed 1 good cup of Israeli couscous, 2-3 topinambour, 1 large carrot, 1 red onion, 4-5 dates, 1 heaped teaspoon of Chorba spice and some fresh parsley and thyme.
The best part of making this dish? After enjoying playing with your food for about 5 minutes... you pop it into the oven for 20 minutes more and it takes care of itself! Oh yes- I like that!
Slice the carrot and the topinambour as thinly as you can and cut the onion in half and then into wedges- these will be your decorations... lovely, colorful and edible ones at that!
Chop the dates up rather finely, the parsley too and mix them together with the couscous and the chorba spice mix. If you do not have this spice mix, you can substitute it by using a few simple spices to give a similar flavor. Turmeric, coriander, ground ginger and a hint of cloves would be a decent combination.
Empty the couscous mix into your baking dish and add enough boiling water to cover it, then begin to lay out the topinambour slices from the outside...
... continue making things pretty with the carrot slices...
... then some thin wedges of red onion...
... and simply continue until the dish is pretty and full! Like I said- this is actually a lot of fun!
Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle generously with fresh thyme, sprinkle with olive oil, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the foil and release some of that steam... careful now- that stuff's hot! And it will also have cooked the couscous through nicely and have the carrot, onion and topinambour almost ready to eat too! To finish it off, pop it back into the oven, under the broiler- and let those edges get toasty and brown!
The vegetables taste lovely, roasted with the salt, pepper, olive oil and thyme- the the couscous beneath is rich, spicy and sweet from the dates- a perfect combination! Even if I do say so myself!
This put topinambour right back to the top of my favorite ingredient list- at least for this evening, haha!