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Ingredient

Couscous

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What is it?

Is couscous a grain or a pasta? Neither, really. A Middle Eastern and North African staple, couscous is simply durum semolina (the wheat flour from which most Italian pastas are made) that has been lightly moistened with salted water and rolled into little granules. Medium-grain (also called Moroccan) couscous is widely available in the U.S., but it’s hardly the only option. At Middle Eastern groceries, you’ll see varieties as fine as sand and as large as baby peas.

How to prep:

Traditionally, couscous is steamed in a couscoussière over broth or water and served with butter or with stewed vegetables or meats. But many recipes suggest simply mixing couscous into boiling liquid and setting it aside to swell and soften. Although this method sacrifices a certain degree of fluffiness for convenience, it does work quite well for medium and fine couscous. Larger-grained versions can be steamed in a couscoussière or simmered in broth or water until tender.

How to store:

Store couscous in sealed containers or bags to keep out moisture. At room temperature or cooler, it will keep well for a year.

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    Recipes

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    Recipe

    Caponata-Style Braised Eggplant with Couscous

    Eggplant caponata is a vegetarian main course that offers the balanced acidity and sweetness of the classic condiment. Served with couscous and a fresh mint, tomato, and cucumber salad, it…

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    Preserved Lemons

    Preserved lemons add a salty zing to Moroccan dishes like the Tangy Fish Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Vegetables. They’re available in some supermarkets, but it’s also easy to make…

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    Grilled Chicken with Curried Couscous, Spinach, and Mango

    It’s amazing how just a teaspoon of curry powder can make a dish so aromatic. Dressing both the couscous and the spinach with curry vinaigrette disperses its flavor throughout. Serve…

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    Spiced Lamb Patties with Apricot Couscous

    A touch of plain yogurt in these Middle Eastern-style lamb patties helps keep them wonderfully succulent, and a dollop of mint-flavored yogurt on the side balances their richness.

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    Sesame Turkey Cutlets with Israeli Couscous Pilaf

    Crisp pan-fried turkey cutlets offer a nice change of pace from chicken. Their richness is balanced by the tangy feta and bright parsley in the couscous. Look for the larger…

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    Charmoula Lamb Chops with Curried Couscous

    Charmoula, a traditional Moroccan marinade, is typically made with parsley, cumin, and paprika. This kicked-up version features smoked paprika and lots of other fresh herbs. Here, it's used to flavor…

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    Couscous with Corn and Blue Cheese

    In this one-pot side dish, couscous is cooked with fresh corn to soak up its sweet flavor. A touch of cayenne and crumbled blue cheese add heat and tang.

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    Couscous Salad with Tomatoes and Hot Green Peppers

    Couscous is a fine pellet made from semolina flour, each golden grain a bit larger than the head of a pin. Some chefs call it “Moroccan pasta” because it is…

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    Green Bean and Israeli Couscous Salad with Pickled Red Onions

    Toasting Israeli couscous, a small, pearl-shaped pasta, before boiling gives it a richer flavor. Enjoy this salad warm or at room temperature.

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    Lemon-Garlic Lamb Chops with Minted Couscous

    Here, a simple lemon-garlic sauce does double duty—it’s brushed on the lamb and stirred into the couscous. You can use lamb loin chops instead of rib chops, but they might…

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  • FALKMAN | 10/26/2009

    thank you. I am already enjoying your fabulous recipes!

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