Israeli Couscous With Ham, Mushrooms, and Brussels Sprouts

The holidays were over, the fridge was bare, and I didn’t feel much like cooking. On the comfort scale I wanted something chicken noodle soup-like, only much easier.

In the pantry I found couscous—both regular and Israeli. I choose the latter because I thought it’d give me a more comforting dish. I started with an onion—always. I cut off a little piece of the leftover holiday ham and diced it small. It wasn’t a first-course salad kind of night. I needed one-dish. So I tossed in the one green vegetable I had—Brussels sprouts—and then added the broth.

Ten minutes later David walked in the door and immediately acknowledged that something smelled good. He took the lid off the pot and took in a big whiff. I said it smelled like comfort. He agreed.

We sat down and ate it, and I gave thanks that such a simple dish could be so satisfying and nourishing.

A couple of days later Maggy came out to work. It had been a harried morning of food shopping and running around. We could pick up something on the go… or I could make my couscous.

And so I did. The fridge wasn’t quite so barren. We added mushrooms this time. As Maggy lifted the lid and took in the smell, I knew that she got it.

Israeli Couscous With Ham, Mushrooms, and Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4

If you want to speed up the cooking process, heat the chicken broth in the microwave so that it’s hot going into the pot.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion
4 ounces ham, cut into small dice
8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 cups Israeli couscous
1 quart chicken broth
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a small Dutch oven or large saucepan. Add onion and cook until starting to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add ham; continue to saute until golden brown, a couple of minutes longer. Add mushrooms; saute until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in couscous to coat. Add chicken broth and Brussels sprouts; partially cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until most of the liquid has absorbed but dish is still moist. Stir in cheese and serve, sprinkling with additional cheese alongside.