Samstag, 21. Mai 2016

A recipe for traditional couscous

There has been a long silence on the blog lately. So I decided to reactivate it, maybe this will help me to focus on the good things in my life.
One of the good things is definitely dinner with the family, so today I proudly present one of the meals that everyone in our family loves:
Couscous! Algerian style, of course... You will need a special pot for this, a Couscousière. In the bottom you will simmer the stew, in the upper pot you will steam the couscous. It has little wholes, so the steam from the bottom heats up the top.
Looks like this:
Okay, you can cheat by buying the kind of couscous that only needs to be soaked in water, but it will never be as fluffy as the steamed kind... :-)
For each person you will need 2 carrots, 1 zucchini, both cut in large chunks. A small handfull cooked chickpeas. If using meat I would go for lamb, or chicken legs. For the lamb I calculate about two hours cooking time, for chicken about one hour. Also you will need about 3/4 cup couscous, vegetable broth, diced onion and some spices: Ras el Hanout (a North African spice mix), ground coriander, ground cumin, salt and pepper.
Please ignore the kohlrabi, it will never be used again...

First, place the couscous in  large bowl or rimmed baking tray. Sprinkle with some salt and mix with lukewarm water, I use about 1c water for 3c couscous. Mix well and let the grains absorb the water.
Meanwhile, heat some oil in the bottom of the pot, add the diced onion and -if using lamb- add the lamb. Chicken and veggies will be added later, as they cook faster. Add about two cups of broth, the ras el hanout, cumin and coriander, 1 generous teaspoon each. Bring to a boil.
When the couscous has soaked up all the water, break it up with your fingers, you do not want any lumps! Place it in the top of the pot. Place the top on the bottom part and steam. If you see steam coming through the grains, the first round is done. Put the couscous back on the tray and mix with water again. (Let it cool off a bit first!). Then let it soak and steam for two more times.
After one hour, add chicken -if using- and veggies to the stew/broth in the bottom pot. Check for seasoning.

After two hours of cooking/three rounds of steaming, the couscous and the stew should be done. The veggies should be very soft, you will be eating this with a spoon. Serve in nice bowls, with some harissa on the side.
Lean back in your seat and smile, because no one complains about the food this time. Okay, hubby did not eat the kohlrabi, I used them only because I had to use them up... (I did like them!)

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