Couscous is a favourite food of many because there is no limit to how you can prepare it. It’s easy to cook and everyone can add their own personal touch to the recipe for an extra special flavour. With roasted or steamed vegetables, nuts, legumes, sun dried tomatoes, tofu and all kind of meats – there are many varieties of preparing couscous. This tasty Moroccan dish can be adapted to your personal eating habits with ease. Whether you have a gluten allergy, you are watching your weight or enjoy a light, flavourful meal – Martino’s pre-made couscous products cover all the basics to bring you a rich nutritional food that can be prepared with vegetables, meat, fish and broth to suit your taste.
When it comes to making couscous as flavourful as can be, cooking it with meat gives it a little something special. You can then top if off with almonds, pomegranate seeds, chorizo, saffron, spices and herbs – you name it.
Making couscous by hand, as has been done since ancient times, is seriously time-consuming task. But the versions sold in Western stores like Martino’s pre-made couscous are machine made, pre-steamed and dried to allow for very quick cooking. In fact, 5 minutes is about all it takes for the tiny grains to steam once your liquid has come to a boil. The liquid can be water but using chicken or vegetable broth is the most common flavour enhancement. But for best results, we recommend using homemade beef or chicken broth – this will add a whole bouquet of flavours to your couscous dish.
Today, we explore the secret of Moroccan couscous and how to make it rich in flavour, fluffy and soft enough to melt in your mouth. Imagine a plate of fluffy couscous lavished with meatballs, lamb chops, chicken skewers, merguez sausage, and a saffron-scented chickpea stew, where the aroma from the different meats wonderfully complements the texture of Martino’s couscous.
First, steam the couscous according to the instructions on the package. Although, if you have time, we recommend steaming it the traditional way – in a couscousière to bring out its true qualities. Steamed couscous is light, ethereal, fluffy, and full of flavour. Steaming couscous is a bit time consuming, but it’s meant to cook on top of whatever stew or tagine or other dish you are preparing.
The basic technique is tossing the couscous with olive oil to coat. Then it is tossed with water, placed in a steamer basket and steamed either over water or over whatever you are cooking. You steam the couscous for about 10 minutes, then you remove it from the heat to rest, fluffing it, and repeat the process. If you’re short on time, two steamings will suffice, but thorough cooks will do as many as four steamings to really bring out the quality of couscous.
The next step and the most important one to ensure your couscous dish is as flavourful as can be is preparing the beef or lamb stock. Place the meat, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, salt, and peppercorns in a 16 to 20-quart stockpot with 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Skim the surface as needed. Simmer uncovered for 4 hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander, discarding the chicken and vegetables, and chill. Discard the hardened fat, and then pack the broth in quart containers.
Afterwards, melt the butter in a large saute pan, add the shallots and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the beef stock, salt and pepper, raise the heat to high and bring the stock to a boil. Off the heat and add the couscous. Cover the pan and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Couscous works great when served plain alongside a rich meaty stew, similar to how rice is used in the Chinese cuisine. But if you cook it with home-made stock, you will give it even more flavour. This produces a dish that is delicious as well as nutritional and healthy as it covers all major food groups in one seating.
Let us know what your favourite recipe with Martino’s couscous products and a choice of rich, savoury stock.