When I saw the recipe for pearl couscous on Belle from Ooh Look’s blog, I commented that I was intrigued as to what they would taste like and thanks to Liz from Haystac, I received a sample to try.
Pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous) is different from normal couscous, being much larger in size and made from hard wheat toasted in an open flame. As it is low GI with no additives or preservatives, it is a great healthy alternative to rice and potatoes. It is available to purchase at selected Coles store nation wide (for between $3 – $4).
The sample came with a variety of recipes to try but none of them really appealed to me so I sort of adapted one of them. I’m not particularly fond of normal couscous but the texture of the pearl couscous looked so interesting, I was excited to try it.
You may have noticed I hardly post any savoury recipes, partly because I don’t follow exact measurements most of the time and also the ingredients you add or leave out is according to personal preference. In this recipe, you could use chicken breast instead of thighs, bacon instead of salami, fresh vegetables instead of frozen, less or more onions, garlic and cheese and it would all change your end result. Anyway, below is the exact way I made it – change the ingredients around at your own peril! 🙂
Pearl couscous cheesy bake with chicken & salami
250g Gourmet Pearl Couscous
2 ½ cups (750ml) water
½ cup frozen vegetables (peas, corn and carrots)
2 chicken thigh fillets, approx. 270g, cut into bite sized pieces
½ tsp garlic salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
50g salami, approx 6 slices, finely sliced
550g jar of tomato pasta sauce (I used Dolmio Traditional Extra Garlic)
2 ½ cups grated cheese
½ cup dried breadcrumbs
Oil for frying
1. Soak frozen vegetables in just boiled water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
2. Season chicken with garlic salt, sugar and 1 tablespoon tomato sauce in a bowl and set aside.
3. Fry sliced salami in oil for a minute or two until the white parts are no longer visible. Remove salami leaving the oil in the pan and set aside.
4. Add onion and garlic to pan and fry until softened. Add seasoned chicken and fry until chicken is cooked through.
5. Add pasta sauce and leave to simmer while you cook the pearl couscous.
6. Preheat oven to 200C (180 fan-forced).
7. In another saucepan, bring 2 ½ cups of water to the boil. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and stir in the couscous. Bring to a simmer, cover with lid and cook until water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
8. Stir through chicken and pasta sauce mixture and mix well. Add in ½ cup cheese, vegetables and salami.
9. Transfer to a baking dish (mine was 20 x 25cm) and sprinkle remaining cheese on top, followed by breadcrumbs.
10. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and top is golden brown.
Results: The texture of the pearl couscous is amazing and so unusual! Hubby and I both love it! The small balls still remain al dente without being too hard or too chewy. This was a great way to cook the pearl couscous – kind of like a pasta bake but with pearl couscous instead of pasta! The tomato based sauce was so tasty with the chicken and salami. I had some leftovers for lunch the next day and it tasted even better as the couscous had more of a chance to absorb the sauce without going soft.
It was be great as an entrée or side dish, or for lunch, but I think it needs something else to be a main meal at dinner time.
Would I make it again? Definitely, I’ll be making it at the next family dinner so they can try this too.
Over & Out, Rilsta xx