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Dinner in 30 minutes: Apricot-Studded Meatballs With Lemony Couscous

Apricot-Studded Meatballs With Lemony Couscous. Illustrates ONTHEFRIDGE (category d), by Bonnie S. Benwick (c) 2013, The Washington Post. Moved Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Deb Lindsey)

Apricot-Studded Meatballs With Lemony Couscous. Illustrates ONTHEFRIDGE (category d), by Bonnie S. Benwick (c) 2013, The Washington Post. Moved Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Deb Lindsey)

Dried fruit and a touch of curry powder do wonders for the humble meatball. Unexpected, right?

Here, the meatballs are sized just right for quick cooking. Prep time is minimal. Couscous and fresh slices of tomato, cucumber and onion complete this healthful main course.

Apricot-Studded Meatballs With Lemony Couscous

4 to 6 dried apricots, preferably the orange kind

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

kosher salt

1 cup dried plain couscous

1 large lemon

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

freshly ground black pepper

1 large tomato

half a medium cucumber

1 small red onion

4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiling element; preheat the broiler. Have a slotted broiler pan at hand.

Finely chop the dried apricots to yield 1/3 cup and place them in a mixing bowl along with the ground beef and curry powder. Season lightly with salt.

With clean hands, thoroughly incorporate the ingredients. Divide the mixture into 16 equal portions, then shape each one into a meatball, arranging them at least 1 inch apart on the broiler pan as you work. Broil for 6 to 8 minutes total, turning them for even browning halfway through. They should be fully cooked, but be careful not to overcook them.

Meanwhile, prepare the couscous according to the package directions. Cut the lemon in half; squeeze 3 tablespoons of juice into a liquid measuring cup. Whisk in the oil to form an emulsified dressing, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the tomato, cucumber and red onion into thin slices.

Transfer the cooked couscous to a serving bowl, fluffing it with a fork as you work. Drizzle the dressing over it, and toss to incorporate.

Divide the couscous among individual plates, mounding it slightly at the center. Arrange 4 meatballs on top of each portion. Sprinkle with the feta cheese, if using. Divide the vegetable slices among each plate. Drizzle each portion with a little oil, if desired. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from “The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook,” by Tina Ruggiero

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