Couscous — A Super Speedy Side

So often it seems, I’m feeling too busy to cook. Or I’ve been developing recipes all day and don’t want to cook any more. As dinner time nears, I scratch my head thinking:  What’s going to fill that spot on our plates next to the chicken or chop or fish filet?  Yes, simple veggies are a must, but how about something starchy? My answer is usually a quick one: Couscous! It’s versatile and so fast to make.

This easy recipe is laced with rosemary, and is just one of many ways to season couscous. Once again, I choose the reliable flavor of store-bought cooking wine to add that subtle and oh-so-necessary background flavor, without which my couscous would be rather boring. Sorry if you’re hesitating, but I just don’t happen to have an open bottle of wine handy. If I do, the wine is too sweet or too dry. I’m sure many folks feel the same, or perhaps are not real wine savvy. So I choose cooking wine, which is real wine with a bit of salt added. It takes the guesswork out of which wines to use with different foods. (Remember my kitchen mantra is simplicity with flavor!)

Couscous, common to North Africa, is tiny pearls of semolina pasta. Traditionally, it is most often served as a base for stews. Find it in grocery stores near the pasta or rice.  If using fresh fragrant rosemary here, add just a little, minced.  And if you prefer wine, use a sauvignon blanc or chablis, or a wine that’s not too dry nor on the sweet side. Be sure to add a bit extra salt.

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Wine & Rosemary Couscous
Prep & Cook time:  10 minutes

1          cup water
1/3       cup Holland House white cooking wine or white with lemon cooking wine
1           Tbsp. butter
1/2       tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/4       tsp. salt
1           cup couscous, regular or whole wheat

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients except couscous. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and boil for 1 minute. Turn off heat and stir in couscous; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir and serve.  Now that’s fast!

Makes 4 servings (3-1/3 cups)   
Recipe may be doubled.

Nutrition information per serving(with regular couscous):
200 calories, 6g protein, 34g carb, 3g fat, (2g sat. fat), 10mg chol, 300mg sodium, 2g fiber

Recipe by Rita Held for Holland House     Photo by Suzanne Carreiro

5 thoughts on “Couscous — A Super Speedy Side”

  • Yum! This recipe reminds me of a super simple cous-cous dinner I often have as a meal for one (fast to make, with few dirty dishes):

    Saute chopped onion in butter (could add peppers or other veggies too)
    Add cooked frozen shrimp, a liberal sprinkling of jerk seasoning, and some white cooking wine
    Simmer until shrimp is heated through and wine has reduced
    Serve over plain cous-cous (cook while the shrimp simmers)

    The cous-cous is a great counterbalance for the spicy seasoning and the “recipe” can be easily scaled or modified to suit.

  • I can completely relate to the dinnertime dilemma. Compleeetly. I love couscous but have never added wine. What a great idea. We fly home from Maui tomorrow and this is going on the menu b/c I’m definitely in the mood for easy food!!

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