Monday, December 17, 2012

Should You Use Rice or Pasta?

Neither! Use Couscous instead!

Many people have, and many people haven't tried couscous in their cooking. It's a great dish that can be used so many various ways, and is quite healthy for you as well. It is also a great idea for when you aren't sure if you would rather have pasta, or rice, it's almost like combining the best of both worlds. So, with this article, I would like to discuss a little bit about couscous and a few uses of it.

What is couscous?

Couscous is basically pure semolina, which is one of the ingredients often used to make pasta. That's semolina, not salmonella, those are two completely different things. It is a common staple found in Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, and other similar regions. In those areas, it is often served with broth or stews, or topped with meat and vegetables as one might do with a rice dish. Now, you can find couscous in markets around the world, and I would highly suggest keeping it as a common item in your pantry.

Is couscous healthy?

Damn right it is! It contains a much better vitamin profile than pasta, with less of a glycemic load. As well, it has roughly the same amount of protein as pasta, and definitely more than white rice. Couscous also has a lower fat-to-calorie ratio than white rice. It's a very healthy alternative to either making pasta or rice, and tastes like a mix between the two.

How is couscous cooked?

If you buy couscous in a store, most often it is pre-steamed, dried and doesn't need much effort to prepare. You can use water, broth, or stock and a little oil or butter to make a simple couscous dish. I also add a pinch of salt and herbs into the water. I use an estimated ratio of 1.75:1 of liquid to couscous; so if I want to make 1 cup of dried couscous, I use 2 cups of boiling liquid. From here you can dish it up and cover it with sauce, gravy, or stew. Honestly, couscous cooked in water and served on its own is pretty damn bland and boring, but with practice, you can learn to turn it into an awesome delicious meal.

What is Druid's couscous recipe?

Beef-flavored Couscous:

1 3/4 Cups of water
1 Cup of Dried Couscous
1-2 Beef-flavored Bouillion Cubes
1 TSP Seasoned Salt
1 TSP Ground Black Pepper
1 TBSP Butter

1: Combine all ingredients, excluding couscous, in a pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, making sure the bouillion cube and butter are melted and stirred into the water.

2: Pour in the couscous and remove from heat, stirring constantly for 5-10 minutes until the water is absorbed into the couscous.

3: Serve and top with steamed vegetables and grilled sausages or steaks. This recipe will easily feed 2-3 people.

Couscous is a wonderful dish that is easy to prepare and healthy for your friends and family. So if you are staring at your kitchen and wondering what to do with that chicken breast, or your brain is trying to figure out if you want a rice dish or a pasta dish, I would highly suggest picking up a package of couscous. I know, that in my kitchen, couscous has become a front-line ingredient in meals. 

~Bon Appétit~

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