So in case you missed it, Tyler and I both entered dishes in the Alabama National Fair's "Cooking with Pecans" competition on Sunday. Let me tell you, I was nervous. There were 35 total entrants; however, there were only about 15 in our main dish category. These people were serious and I'm not so sure how excited everyone was to have a first timer pick up the big red ribbon. Unfortunately, Tyler's butternut and pecan stuffed ravioli didn't place but I really think it was better than mine by a long shot. I'm blaming it on the fact that the judges were all women and went for the lighter dishes. Get a man up there and he would have thought my dish was for sissies!
The winning dish, Isreali Couscous Salad with Pecans and Golden Raisins
Although I wish Tyler could have won instead of me, I was very proud. Don't worry, we will be back next year!
Israeli Couscous Salad with Pecans and Golden Raisins
2 c Israeli couscous, uncooked
4 c chicken broth or water
1 c golden raisins
1 c toasted pecans roughly chopped
2 scallions, chopped
2 c chopped rotisserie chicken
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Zest of an orange
Juice of 1⁄2 an orange
1⁄2 tsp turmeric
1⁄2 tsp dried thyme
1⁄2 tsp curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring chicken stock or water to a boil, and add the couscous. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for 8-10 minutes or until slightly al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the canola oil, vinegar, orange zest and juice, spices and salt and pepper.
3. In a large bowl, combine the couscous, golden raisins, chicken, pecans and scallions. Pour dressing over and toss to combine.
4. Garnish with scallions and pecans and serve immediately or chill in fridge for a few hours (if chilling in fridge, mix in pecans and add garnish before serving).
*If you want a bit more flavor, double the dressing.