I had some fresh crab (lump) and was trying to decide what to do with it. I had some Israeli couscous on hand as well…so I decided to try something new that I’ve been dreaming about for a while. I love Israeli couscous, it’s different from traditional couscous in that it’s a larger grain and has a creamier texture, almost like tapioca – or arborio rice from which risotto is made. So I decided to make a creamy couscous that resembles risotto but with its own unique texture.
First I made my own vegetable broth – the recipe is soon to come and I will link it here- but you can use store bought vegetable broth and it will be great. Just buy a good brand and make sure it doesn’t have any unnecessary ingredients and is low in sodium- you want to add your own salt to your food as much as possible.
Here’s a pic of the broth from start to finish just to give you an idea:
This is what it looked like after it cooked down for about 20 to 30 minutes
This is the veggie broth after it cooked for a little over an hour and was strained. Like I said I’ll share the recipe in another post but it’s basically the ends and peels and shreds of veggies cooked into water with a little added soy sauce, a dash of balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and half of a lemon. The key to any good broth is patience I think, because you just have to allow the flavor to develop over time.
Next I sautéed sweet onion, bell pepper, celery, green onion and garlic with some salt and pepper.
Then I melted a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil and toasted about one cup of Israeli couscous over medium heat until nice and brown:
After the couscous toasted I added about 1/4 cup of white wine and stirred until it evaporated. Then I added broth a ladleful at a time, giving it a stir with each bit of liquid added. All in all it took about 1 1/2 cup of broth to soften and break down the couscous so it was tender and creamy. Then I added some cheeses and lowfat Greek yogurt as well as the veggies.
You will want to gently stir in the crab as well as some chopped basil, then taste it. It might need salt or a little extra Parmesan. You can’t often go wrong with a little extra Parmesan.:-) You can also see an extra tablespoon of butter I stirred in to finish the deal.
I like to serve it over a mix of greens ( your favorite mix, or spinach, whatever you enjoy the most) wilted with a little spoon of the fresh veggie broth. Then I top it with the Creamy Couscous Risotto with a little garnish. You can also serve it in a cocktail glass as an appetizer or a side dish as well.
Creamy Crab Couscous:
Diced: 1 medium sized sweet onion, 2 celery ribs (leaves and all), 1/2 large red pepper, 2-3 green onions, 2-4 cloves of garlic minced and salt and pepper
1 cup of Israeli couscous
1 1/2 – 2 cups Veggie broth
1/4 cup of white wine
1/2 of a small log of goat cheese
1/4 cup of lowfat cream cheese
1/4 – 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan (fresh stuff!)
4-6 large leaves of chopped fresh basil
Fresh greens for serving
Sautee the veggie mix in a medium sized sauce pan and remove from the pan when softened and cooked through.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil each in the pan and pour in 1 cup of Israeli couscous. Add a little bit of sea salt and ground pepper and stir occasionally, making sure it’s toasting evenly. It will take about 5 minutes to get nice and brown. Once it’s toasted add 1/4 cup of white wine ( you can skip the wine and just use broth as well) and let it simmer until it starts to dry out again. Add the broth, one ladleful at a time, stirring occasionally and not adding more liquid until it’s dry, until you have added about 1 1/2 cups and it’s soft and creamy. You don’t have to stand over it, but you do need to stay nearby.:-)
Next add the cheeses and another splash of broth and stir together. It should be a little loose and let it cook for a minute or so until it tightens up slightly. You can always adjust either way – either add a little more cheese if it’s too loose, or more broth if it’s too tight. But first gently stir in the crab and the herbs and let it marry together for a minute or two. Taste for salt and pepper and add if needed.
Now serve over wilted greens or in a cocktail glass and enjoy a sumptious crab dish that tastes way more decadent than it is in reality. There is real butter and cheese in this dish, but it doesn’t overpower the healthy ingredients and serving it over greens allows you to have a smaller portion and still feel full and satisfied.