There isn’t a starch that is easier to prepare and cook than couscous. Truth be told, if you can measure ingredients and boil water, you can make couscous in less than five minutes of active time. If you’re looking for a cuscus recipe, turn around and go back, that meat on top is chicken (cuscus is a type of opossum, and we’re not cooking roadkill here). Minor variation in spelling, huge difference in protein content.

I love couscous for how easy it is to prepare, but also because it is a great alternative to rice, potatoes, or pasta. While it takes less than five minutes of active time on your part, the process it goes through before it arrives in your grocery store is actually more time-consuming than I would have imagined…

To cook instant couscous (the variety most commonly available in the United States), bring 1 cup of stock to a boil for every 2/3 cup of dry couscous to be prepared. After the liquid has come to a boil, turn off the heat, pour in the couscous, give it one quick stir, and then let it sit covered for five minutes. After the five minutes have passed, you can add any flavoring ingredients desired, then fluff with a fork… that’s it!

While this post is really about the couscous, I’ll tell you a little bit about the chicken as well. I live in greater Binghamton, NY, where a kitchen supply store called The Kitchen Store recently opened. During my first visit, the store owner offered me a sample of infused oils.

There were some infused with lemon, garlic, and other ingredients, but the roasted pepper was my favorite. At first the taste is very mellow, but it quickly heats up your mouth as the spiciness spreads. They weren’t kidding when they put “bold flavor” on the front. I used this fiery oil to sear the chicken in this recipe, along with a little salt and pepper.

It is distributed by a company called Witko & Klinger, less than an hour away from where I live. It’s my first run-in with the company, but I’m sure I’ll try some of their other flavors in the future.

Toasted Pine Nut Couscous

Toasted Pine Nut Couscous


  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon butter (optional)
  • 2/3 cup instant couscous
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a sauce pot, bring the chicken stock and butter to a boil.
  2. Turn off heat, lightly stir in couscous, and cover for five minutes.
  3. Remove cover, add pine nuts, oregano, salt, and pepper, then fluff with a fork.