My four-year-old, no matter how many times my husband and I remind him of the correct name, insists on calling couscous something different ... He calls it "goose-cous." It never fails to crack me up. (I think that's why he still says it that way. Whoops.)
Couscous is a spherical shaped pasta-like thing, made from semolina wheat. Common in Mediterranean culture, it's available in several forms: regular small couscous, whole wheat couscous and Israeli couscous, which is larger. It's one of those side dish-bases that can really be strongly influenced by the flavors that you season it with.
Generally, I like to cook my couscous in a stock or broth like chicken or mushroom-flavored ones. Once it's fluffed up, a little minced garlic and parmesan cheese is all it needs to be a perfect side.
One of the greatest things about couscous is that it can be made really fast. Rushing to get dinner on the table? This only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, and most of that time is hands-off. Does it get any better than that?
I don't know about you, but I am always looking to renovate our go-to dishes so that eating dinner never gets boring at our table. With something like couscous, that can be accomplished by doing something as simple as changing the herbs and spices around or mixing something different in.
Ready to give couscous a shot?
If you are just trying it for the first time, it can be wise to go with something simple like Parsley Buttered Couscous or Mediterranean Couscous.
If you want to try Israeli couscous, I highly recommend my Avocado and Red Pepper Israeli Couscous. It's a family favorite here. The creamy avocado goes so well with the crispy red pepper and soft couscous.
Want a more all-in-one type dish? Curried Chicken and Couscous Salad could make a fabulous lunch. Or take a more delicate approach with Orange Couscous Salad, which could be awesome with grilled chicken.
Are you a couscous fan? What flavor combination do you like?
Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron is a food writer, editor and blogger. Find her online at Sarah's Cucina Bella.