PRIZES! Comment by May 15th for a chance to win a Near East prize pack including products, recipes and another 250 boxes of couscous donated to Northwest harvest.
According to Wikipedia, couscous is a staple food throughout West Africa, Sahel, France, Spain, and the Canary Islands, Portugal, Madeira, Italy (particularly in the western Sicily Province of Trapani), as well as in Turkey, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, the Middle East and India.
Made by hand, it's a lenghty process that involves working semolina-based dough through a sieve, which forms the tiny granules of couscous. The couscous grains are then air-dried in the sun. Preparation involves steaming the tiny grains in a special pot, typically lined with a cheese cloth.
Here in the Western world, couscous is pre-steamed and dried again, which shortens the cooking time considerably--five minutes from boiling water (or stock) to fluffy couscous!
I love entertaining with couscous. When I gather friends, we serve it North African-style with a meat or vegetable stew, spooned over a heaping mound of couscous. (Near East brand's roasted garlic or parmesan are my two favorites.) Served on polished silver trays, it makes a stunning crowd-friendly presentation.
with apple, pear, and sage
with olive and lemon
I'll be making this next!
chipotle chile, balsamic, and beer make up the braising liquid for the pork, and the couscous is tossed with dried cherries and sage. Sounds lovely, no?
Photos by food photographer, Rina Jordan.