1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Large pinch of saffron (optional)
2 1/4 cups (12 ounces) whole-wheat couscous
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Make the spice blend: Toast the cinnamon stick, both peppercorns, cumin, coriander, allspice, cloves and cardamom in a small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 2 minutes; let cool. Grind in a spice grinder or mini food processor with the ginger, turmeric, cayenne, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon salt. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks; use leftover spice blend as a rub for meat or fish.
Make the couscous: Heat the butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons spice blend and the saffron, if desired, in a large skillet over medium-high heat until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Add the couscous and stir until toasted, about 1 minute. Stir in the warm broth, remove from the heat, cover and set aside until the couscous is plump, about 7 minutes. Add the lemon juice and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon spice blend.
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