I've Been Making This Easy Martha Stewart Dinner for Over 20 Years—It's Still My Favorite

It’s become a summertime staple.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Kris Osborne</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Kris Osborne

When I was in my twenties, a good friend loaned me a copy of Martha's 1996 cookbook, What to Have for Dinner, a best-of collection from Martha Stewart Living that she knew I'd love. She was right. After cooking my way through a number of the recipes and raving about them, she gifted the book to me, making a joke about how I'd “earned it.”

The first recipe I ever made was Martha's Grilled Pork Skewers with Couscous—a recipe I decided to make on a whim because I happened to have the ingredients on hand. Little did I know that this spur-of-the-moment meal would become a summertime staple over the next two decades.

How To Make Martha's Grilled Pork Skewers with Couscous

The recipe might appear to have a long list of ingredients—it's 13 ingredients, including water, salt, and pepper—but truthfully, it feels more like six to eight. Aside from the perishables, everything will likely already be in your pantry. It’s effortless to make and comes together in less than an hour from start to finish.

You'll need:

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (about 4 sprigs)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to brush on grill

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

  • 1/2 each small zucchini and yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

  • 1 each red and yellow peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

  • 1 cup dry couscous

  • 1 cup boiling water

You start by whisking together a tangy marinade of Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, thyme, one clove of minced garlic, a tablespoon of oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add the pork cubes and marinate for 30 minutes. This is the perfect time to prep the rest of the dinner.

Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the red onion and the remaining garlic. Cook those aromatics for a few minutes until they're soft and translucent, then add in your diced vegetables. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook everything for about five more minutes or until the vegetables soften.

Lastly, add the couscous and boiling water and stir everything to combine. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let it sit for five minutes. When it's done, Martha suggests seasoning everything with salt and pepper to taste.

Next, preheat the grill to medium-high heat while you thread the pork onto skewers. Season them with salt and pepper once more, and grill until nicely charred and cooked through the middle, flipping halfway through, 7 to 8 minutes total. Serve the skewers on top of the couscous on a large platter, family-style, and have everybody help themselves.

<p>Simply Recipes / Kris Osborne</p>

Simply Recipes / Kris Osborne

Swaps and Variations

This recipe is pretty perfect, so I don't change things up that often, but I've swapped chicken for pork with great success, used various grains in place of couscous, and substituted whatever veggie haul looks best at the market that week.

I've also pre-roasted a tray of summer vegetables, like eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and peppers, and put a portion of those into the grains, helping with meal prep and saving time on dinner night.

I will sometimes substitute the water for stock. And if I am using water, I always season it well before mixing it with the couscous. I also rarely have fresh thyme on hand unless I'm growing it, so I almost always substitute it with dried.

Tips for Grilling the Best Pork Skewers

  • Marinate your pork for longer. At 30 minutes, it will still be flavorful, but if you have the time, prepare the pork the night before or the morning of and let it marinate in the fridge. It will be extra delicious.

  • Don't overcook the pork. Use the finger test to check your meat, or, if needed, use a meat thermometer and cook it anywhere from 145°F to 165°F, depending on your preference. Keep in mind that once it's off the grill, the pork will continue to cook as it rests.

This post has a lot of great tips on grilling pork in general, including how to prepare your grill, flavorful alternatives to pork tenderloin, and even some options for getting a similar flavor profile if you don't have a grill.

This meal always feels like summer on a plate. It's the kind of vibrant, crowd-pleasing dinner that turns even the most casual of weeknights into something special—which is why I know I'll be grilling it for many more decades to come.

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.