Couscous is a North African dish, a very small pearl-shaped pasta made of durum wheat semolina. These tiny balls of pasta are very, very simple to make, taking approximately 5-minutes to fully cook. The couscous has a mild flavor and is traditionally served with a stew spooned over the top. The plain couscous absorbs the flavors of the stew meat and its braising liquid and doesn’t need any additional flavors added to it. I’ll explain how to make couscous from scratch later in this blog post.
However, right now I am making this recipe as a side dish for the main course that doesn’t have gravy or braising liquid. Therefore, I need to boost the flavor to compliment the Moroccan Spiced Salmon I’m preparing.
The ingredients for this recipe include olives, tomatoes, lemon, onions, fresh herbs, carrots, celery, and garlic. Basically, what I would add to a chicken or lamb tagine, I added to the couscous to make up for the braising liquid that normally flavors this amazing side dish. The result is a delicious recipe that has more than enough flavor to stand on its own. A great recipe to serve with roasts and grilled meats or as a vegetarian side with roasted vegetables.
There isn’t an easier side dish than plain couscous, and my doctored-up version isn’t that much more difficult to prepare. Making plain couscous is very simple and requires only 4 ingredients. How to make couscous:
- Bring the liquid to a boil and add a small amount of salt, and butter. Water is fine, or you can use vegetable or chicken stock.
- Remove the boiling liquid from the heat and add equal parts liquid and couscous.
- Cover the pot and let it steam for 5-minutes. Use a fork to separate and break-up any clumps so that it is light and fluffy.
How to make couscous
- 1/4 Cup Kalamata Olives Pitted and sliced
- 1/4 Cup Carrots 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 Cup Celery 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 Cup Tomatoes 1/2-inch dice
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Crushed and chopped
- 1/4 Cup Onion 1/4-inch dice
- 2 Scallions 1/4-inch dice, white and green parts
- 1/4 Cup Cilantro Chopped (fresh coriander leaves)
- 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Cup Water Substitute chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 Cup Couscous
- 1/2 Lemon Juice only
- Add all of the ingredients except cilantro, water, and couscous to a small pot. Sauté for 1 minute then add water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add couscous, cover the pot and let the couscous steam for 5-minutes.
- Use a fork to fluff up the couscous and mix in half of the cilantro. Serve and garnish with the remaining cilantro.