Monday, February 1, 2010


I wasn't able to be home this evening to cook dinner due to a meeting, so I thought I'd highlight one of mine and Mat's favorite side dishes, couscous.

Couscous is a fantastic, versatile pasta, made of tiny grains of dough that are steamed. It originates from Morocco and northern Algeria, and is a staple throughout North Africa. It can be served many ways, as a breakfast cereal, dressed in a salad, or sweetened for a dessert. But in it's most common use, it accompanies a stew or savory sauce, much as rice does in other cultures. Most couscous is made of wheat flour, but there are varieties made of barley, corn, and even ground acorn meal

I serve couscous almost always in place of rice. It is especially good with fish. The grocery store sells a few different varieties of couscous, original, pine nut, garlic, and Parmesan. Mostly we use the original version. I have mixed in many things but one of my favorites is canned chopped mushrooms.

Couscous is low in fat and calories so it is an ideal carbohydrate side dish.

One of it's best features is that it is extremely easy to cook. Each box lists a short set of instructions for a few different servings sizes. Normally I make 2 servings.

Preparation for 2 servings begins with bringing 1 cup of chicken broth or water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil, when melted add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add 2/3 cup of dry couscous. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with fork.

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