I’m really, really, REALLY trying to hold off on cooking or baking any fall foods until fall actually arrives on Monday. As much as I love pumpkins, apples, and all the other traditional autumn flavors, they just don’t taste the same when it’s still 100 degrees outside. But it’s getting really difficult. You see, here in Phoenix, those of us who have lived other places and know how fantastic fall is just kind of choose a date and start pretending it’s fall. Sure, we sweat a little in our summer-weight, three-quarter length sleeve, cotton sweaters in the middle of October, but it’s worth it. The hope that we might wake up one morning to find that Phoenix has, indeed, made the foray into having four seasons never ceases. This couscous salad caught my eye because of the cranberries. I mean, does a measly 1/3 cup of sweet, delicious dried cranberries constitute cheating the official start date of fall? I hope not, because I enjoyed every bite of this.
Warm Couscous Salad adapted from Williams-Sonoma
1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/8 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste 1 c. instant couscous 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 green onions, white and tender green portions, chopped 1/3 c. dried cranberries 1/3 c. golden raisins 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 c. red wine vinegar Freshly ground pepper, to taste 10 1/2 oz. sliced chicken breast, prepared as preferred (I coated mine with whole grain garlic mustard and pan seared it)
1 TBSP thinly sliced fresh mint
1. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the chicken broth and the 1/8 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous and return to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and fluff with a fork to separate the grains.
2. Add the carrots, green onions, dried cranberries, and raisins. 3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Stir into the couscous mixture. 4. Transfer the couscous to a serving dish and arrange the chicken on top. Sprinkle with the mint and serve warm.