Friday, May 20, 2011

Couscous Ca-Choo! (Golden herb couscous)

Traditional couscous is something we always have in our pantry.  It is the most frequent type of pasta that we cook (we’re not big wheat noodle fans) & is incredibly versatile for meal planning.  Plus, it cooks quickly…yay!  

Golden Herb Couscous, Moroccan Inspired Baked Chicken,
& Steamed Brussels Sprouts
The following recipe is a staple in my cooking arsenal. It’s a quick, flavorful side dish that pairs well with poultry.  Although I cook it regularly, I’ve always cooked it by “feel & taste” instead of “measurements” for the spices, so coming up with the approximate measuring amounts for a “palm-full” has been a fun challenge for me.  But this does mean that if you are lacking an ingredient listed, it gives you more room to play & improvise with the recipe.  Typically we buy the Rice Select brand couscous because it’s available at all of the groceries here, but whatever brand of plain, small-grain couscous prefer will work for this dish.  This recipe gets its beautiful yellow coloring from the turmeric.  I suggest serving this with Moroccan Inspired Baked Chicken and steamed vegetables.

Golden herb couscous (original “I experimented in the spice cabinet” recipe):
Serves 3-5

The Ingredient Lineup
  • 1- 12oz can of low sodium chicken broth or stock (or vegetable broth for non-meat eaters)
  • 1 chicken bullion cube or equivalent in chicken stock paste [optional—if you add this, you should not need extra salt]
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 2 t. dried basil
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 3/4 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 t. onion powder
  • 1/4 t. ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried couscous
  • 1-4 T water, as needed
  • Salt, to taste
  • Powdered sumac for garnish [optional]*
1.  In a medium microwavable mixing bowl, add the chicken broth, bullion, lemon juice & spices, excluding the salt & sumac.  Stir.  Microwave the mixture for 2-3 minutes until boiling (dependant on individual microwave strength).  Let mixture sit & develop flavor until 10 minutes before meal time (I normally let it have a party on the counter for about 20 minutes before finishing the dish).
Dry ingredients (minus couscous)
2.  10 minutes before serving the meal, return the mixing bowl back to microwave.  Heat until boiling.  Carefully remove bowl from microwave & stir in the dried couscous.  Cover the bowl & let it sit on your counter for 4-5 minutes.

3.  Remove the cover from the bowl & fluff couscous with a fork.  Taste a small sample of the couscous and check for 1) To make sure the couscous is soft, yet still a little firm [but not chewy] & 2) To make sure the salt level is ok.  If your couscous feels chewy, stir in 1-3 Tablespoons of water & return to the microwave for 30 second to 1 minute.  Let couscous sit one minute, fluff with fork, & recheck.

4.  Move finished couscous to a serving bowl.  Sprinkle the top with ground sumac, and serve.

Golden Herb Couscous
*A note on powdered sumac- First of all, this spice is not made from poison sumac, so set that worry aside.  I love garnishing with powdered sumac & I especially love adding it to couscous dishes & hummus.  It is a beautiful purplish color when plated and has a tart, tangy flavor similar to lemon, yet slightly flowery.  

No comments:

Post a Comment