Butter Couscous is a light and buttery side dish to serve with any rich meaty stews. Or lots of vegetables! I served this along a Lamb Tagine.
Sometimes confused as a grain, couscous is actually most similar to pasta. Couscous is crushed durum wheat that’s been combined with water to form small granules. Pasta is made with ground wheat. The process of grinding wheat in to a powder decreases the nutritional value of the grain. The other big difference is that couscous typically comes precooked.
Traditional preparation of couscous involves steaming it two or three times over broth. It should be light and fluffy. We can accomplish this with a couple easy and significantly faster steps that don’t require a couscousière. Three steps in fact: Rinse. Massage. Bake.
You can really take this recipe and go nuts with it. I served it with the lamb tagine shown below but it goes great with any meaty stew or roasted vegetables. A huge platter of lemon tarragon couscous would be an awesome bed for a whole grilled fish. You can add lots of stuff to the couscous itself. Toss in some fried onions and/or some steamed broccoli. Cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and tumeric all would go great mixed in with couscous. Many communities add sweets like raisins, prunes, and apricots and serve it as a dessert.
Couscous has it’s origins in Northern Africa but every country bordering the Mediterranean Sea have their own history with the ingredient. I wanted to present this basic recipe to start with so you can get creative with it yourself. I’d love you to share your recipes and send me some of your photos!
- 2 cups couscous rinsed and drained
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 2/3 cups warm water
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs butter cubed
- Once the couscous has drained, add it to an oven proof pot. Mix the salt in the warm water and drizzle over the couscous. Allow it to absorb for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, add the olive oil and massage it in to the couscous. Add cubes of butter on top.
- Cover the pot loosely with foil or wet parchment paper. Bake for 20-30 minutes just to melt the butter and warm the couscous.
- Toast some slices almonds in butter and add to the dish for a little extra flavor and some texture.