What Is Couscous Stuffing?

Sheri Cyprus

Couscous stuffing is a dressing for poultry or vegetables with semolina, or crushed wheat, as its base. Couscous is a North African staple grain made from semolina paste. Like rice or diced bread dressings, this stuffing has many possible variations in its ingredients. Fresh vegetables, broth, dried fruits, nuts, herbs and flavorings are commonly added to couscous stuffing.

Prunes are sometimes used in couscous stuffing.
Prunes are sometimes used in couscous stuffing.

Salt, pepper and minced garlic are often added to couscous dressings. Mint, sage, basil and allspice are some of the herbs that may be mixed into this kind of stuffing. Some cooks like to add either slivered almonds or chopped pistachios to a couscous stuffing. Golden raisins or other dried fruit may also be combined into the dressing ingredients, especially when cinnamon or other sweet spices are used. Many cooks also like to stir lemon juice, along with chicken or vegetable broth, into the couscous and other ingredients.

Couscous stuffing may accompany Cornish game hens.
Couscous stuffing may accompany Cornish game hens.

Popular vegetable additions to a couscous dressing are sliced celery and finely chopped onion. Fresh minced parsley, or the dried version, may be added for color. Rather than serving with cooked poultry, a couscous stuffing may be placed into hollowed out vegetables such as squash, tomatoes or bell peppers and baked. A separately made cheese, mushroom or cream sauce may be poured over the tenderly cooked, couscous stuffed vegetables before serving.

Couscous dressing may accompany any kind of roast poultry such as turkey, chicken, Cornish game hens or duck. Methods of preparing stuffing vary widely, but oftentimes a vegetable or poultry broth will first be simmered, then stirred into cooked couscous. Garlic, onions and vegetables may be sauteed in oil in a frying pan before being mixed into the broth and couscous. Dried fruits such as prunes, raisins or dates may be soaked in warm water first to allow them to be softened and plumper before they're added to the couscous stuffing ingredients. The herbs and lemon juice may be added at the last to flavor the dressing.

Rather than baking the stuffing alongside a whole roasting bird, the dressing may be used in turkey breasts. Turkey breast stuffed with couscous may also include cheese and mushrooms. A glass of wine and a crisp salad may complete the meal. Some cooks prefer to use couscous stuffing in pork chops instead. Lemon juice, olives and basil may be added to pork chop dressings made with couscous.

Couscous stuffing may be paired with roasted duck.
Couscous stuffing may be paired with roasted duck.

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