Recently, I’ve been very interested in making healthy side dishes, and couscous definitely fits that profile. I had read it has a 1% fat-to-calorie ratio, compared to white pasta (5%) and white rice (3%). Plus, the best part, is that it’s perfect for a filling dinner in replacement of heavy pasta or rice.
Again, when cooking with a new ingredients I find it a bit intimidating, but it’s almost laughable how easy it is to make couscous… It’s nearly fool-proof.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
3 cups chicken stock (I used my homemade batch, but you can buy the cartons in Lulu)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
2 cups of couscous (the recipe calls for this, but keep in mind it makes a lot – 1 cup is more than enough for 2 persons)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup parsley, minced
First roast the pine nuts in a small pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Roast them until they begin to turn a medium-shade of brown, while making sure to constantly toss. Then allow to rest on the side. In a medium size pot, warm the butter and add the onions – allow them to sweat for about 5-8 minutes on low heat. Once soft, add the chicken stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a full boil then add the couscous. Once you mix in the couscous, turn off the heat and cover the pot, allowing the couscous to absorb the liquid. Keep the pot covered for 10 complete minutes. Once removed, the couscous will be puffed up with a bed of the spices and onions resting on top – fluff all together with a fork. Add in the parsley and pine nuts, and mix further. That’s it!
I can’t stress how great a replacement this is to so many rice-based dishes. It’s a new staple I’ve introduced to our house and something I’ll be repeating a lot more often – the couscous turned out so light, fluffy and flavorful (I have to stay, homemade chicken stock is also, a great addition). Also, you can play with the additions to couscous and instead of parsley, use currants, a variety of different nuts and shallots. And, again (me with my presentation), it sits beautifully on a plate to serve with a few extra shreds of chopped parsley garnished on top.
Recipe, courtesy of Ina Garten