Couscous with Colorful Carrots and Citrus Tarragon Butter Sauce


Comforting and colorful, a saucy slow-sauté of carrots, shallots and peas nestles into a bed of quick-cooking couscous for a satisfying supper with the flavor of a much longer-cooked dish.

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My “slow-sauté” technique is a great one for dense veggies, provided they are all cut into about the same size. In a crowded covered pan, the veggies both brown and steam at the same time, so they not only cook through but gain flavor, too. Stealing a sauce trick from the French, I add a little acid (orange, lemon, or Dijon) to the finished sauté and then toss in some very cold butter so that it melts into a creamy consistency. The vegetables and their glazy sauce find a perfect home on a bed of couscous, but you could also serve them over a small amount of cooked fettuccine or linguine. The new varieties of colorful carrots—red, purple, deep orange, and yellow—inspired this dish, but use any carrots you like.

Couscous with Colorful Carrots and Citrus Tarragon Butter Sauce
Recipe TypeSalad
Author: Susie Middleton
Serves: 2 to 3
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces colorful carrots (orange, yellow, and red, if possible), peeled and cut into sticks between 2 and 3 inches long and ⅜ to ½ inch wide (yielding about 9 ounces or 3 cups)
  • 2 large shallots, cut lengthwise into ½-inch-wide wedges
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed, or fresh peas, blanched or microwaved for 30 seconds
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts (optional)
  1. Cut 1½ tablespoons of the butter into 6 pieces and keep chilled in the refrigerator.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vinegar and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of the butter, and ½ teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, then cover the pan and remove from the heat. Let sit 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Cover to keep warm.
  4. In a small (4- to 5-quart) Dutch oven or other deep, wide pot, heat the remaining 1½ tablespoons of butter and the olive oil over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add the carrots and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cover loosely and cook, uncovering frequently to gently stir, for 5 minutes. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and stir, then cover loosely and continue cooking and stirring frequently until the carrots are tender and very nicely browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the peas and the orange juice mixture and immediately stir well, quickly scraping up any browned bits. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cold butter, and stir until just melted and creamy. Stir in the tarragon.
  5. Portion the couscous between two or three bowls or spoon onto one platter. (You may not use all the couscous if only serving two.) Spoon the carrot sauté over the couscous and garnish with hazelnuts (if using). Serve right away


This recipe is excerpted from Simple Green Suppers by Susie Middleton © 2017 by Susie Middleton. Photographs © 2017 by Randi Baird. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc.



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