Friday, June 15, 2012

Kohlrabi, Couscous, and You

I fancy myself an adventurer.

True, I've never jumped out of an airplane, and I have not appeared on stage nude; neither have I held a snake, driven over 100 m.p.h., nor have I bungie jumped face first off a building.

But, I will eat just about anything.

This week, as I was strolling through my local farmers market, I was hoping to find something that I had never before consumed.  Some exotic find that has eluded my culinary experience thus far.  And there it was.  A strange, bulbous, green root-looking thing with leaves sprouting out the top...kohlrabi.  I immediately bought a bunch and ran home to do a little research.

Turns out that kohlrabi, also known as the German turnip, is akin to cabbage, broccoli, and kale.  It has the consistency of a turnip but is much sweeter in taste.  AND it's chock full of thiamin, folate, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C (140%), vitamin B6, potassium, copper and manganese.  Who knew?

After checking it out in its raw form (I made a delicious slaw of kohlrabi, apples, radishes, and green onion) and got a good idea of the taste (a bright, crunchy, earthy experience), I thought I would play around with it in a warm dish.  Here is what I came up with:

Curried Israeli Couscous with Chick Peas, Asparagus, and Kohlrabi

Waiting for the last minute to add the kohlrabi allows it to retain its sweetness and crunch providing a great contrast to the dish!  Try adding 1/4 cup golden raisins into the mix for a little extra sweetness. (My Valentine is not a big fan so I left them out...still way tasty.)

2 cups vegetable stock plus 1/4 cup
2 cups Israeli couscous
1 Tbl curry powder
2 tsp lemon juice
2 bulbs kholrabi and leaves
1 bunch asparagus (trimmed and sliced into 1" pieces)
1 1/2 cups chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1/3 cup shallots, sliced (about 2 small ones)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl rice viengar

For the couscous, bring 2 cups vegetable stock, curry powder, and lemon juice to a boil.  Add couscous, cover, and reduce to simmer stirring occasionally until cooked (approximately eight minutes).  Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

To trim the kohlrabi, slice off stalks and leaves.  Using a sharp knife, remove the outer layer of the bulb as if slicing the skin off an orange.  Cut kohlrabi into 1" cubes and set aside.  Remove the leaves from the stalks.  Hold stalks in one hand and fold leaves over with the other hand.  Gently pull the leaves free.  Stack leaves in a pile and roll into a cigar shape.  Slice leaves into 1/2" strips.  You have just julienned your leaves.  Good for you!

In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat and saute shallots until tender, about five minutes.  Add garlic and cook for one minute.  Add asparagus and kohlrabi leaves and continue to cook for about three minutes.  Add the chick peas, raisins (if using), rice vinegar, and the remaining 1/4 cup of stock to the pan.  Cook until most of the liquid evaporate and leaves are tender.  Stir in kohlrabi cubes, couscous, and toss to combine.

Serve warm.  It's also pretty darn tasty cold!

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