One of my favorite restaurants while living in New Orleans was Houston's. They have great burgers, shoestring fries, tortilla soup, awesome spinach and artichoke dip, etc. Sometimes, I would order the spinach dip as my meal. They serve it with super crispy tortilla chips, sour cream and salsa. It was always such a tough decision between their burger and dip, so I loved when I went with someone else who would split with me so we could do half and half. Same thing with the fries and couscous. I loved them both, so I would always try to split with someone.
They're not big on sharing recipes though, so I had no idea how to make the couscous. First of all, I had never had couscous until then. I didn't know if it was cooked in water, broth, or something else. I made a note to myself listing the items that were mixed in, but now I don't know what I did with my note! I thought I had e-mailed it to myself, but apparently not, so I just winged it.
I picked up a box of Near East brand plain Couscous and cooked it in chicken broth and a little olive oil. Since the package called for two cups of liquid, and a can of broth is only 14 ounces, I used water to make up the difference. Per the package, I brought it to a boil, then covered it, removed it from the heat and let it sit for five minutes to absorb.
After the five minutes were up, I fluffed the couscous with a big serving fork and threw in a handful of golden raisins. That's one of the things I'm questioning my memory on ... whether Houston's uses the golden raisins or currants. I put them in while the couscous was still hot so they would plump up from the heat and moisture.
While that was cooling, I sliced some radishes into rings and then matchsticks, rough chopped some cocktail peanuts, and ran a knife through some fresh cilantro. Cilantro was the other thing I questioned later ... was it mint or cilantro? Hmmmm?
You don't want your radishes to cook, your peanuts to be soggy, or your cilantro to turn dark, so make sure the couscous is cool before you stir them in. Looking at it when I was done made me think that something was missing. My memory was telling me there was a slight sheen to their version, but I don't remember detecting another flavor, so I went with a drizzle of olive oil.
I later looked online at other copy cat versions and saw that some included carrots, while others used some sort of dressing, yogurt, or cooked the couscous in orange juice. All in all, I was quite pleased with my version! The raisins and peanuts definitely add a nice contrast of textures, while the chicken broth and cilantro enhance the flavors.