Posts Tagged ‘Couscous’

Thrill of grill couscous

This is an old favourite that we make every summer. The chopped up mushrooms give it a fantastic earthy flavour and it works really well with barbecues and on picnics.

Tasty Couscous Salad – serves 4

  • 200g couscous
  • 400ml boiling vegetable stock (we still use Swiss Marigold Bouillon Powder)
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 175g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • half a bunch of scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp pesto
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts, almonds or rough chopped hazelnuts
  • a generous handful of basil

Put the couscous into a bowl and pour over the hot stock. Cover with cline film and leave to soak for 5 minutes.

When the 5 minutes is up, fork the couscous through to break up any lumps, then stir in the oil and pesto, then tip in all the veg and nuts and tear in the basil. Taste and season.

Simple as that!

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, August, 2002.)


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Pomegranate & slow cooked lamb couscous

This makes such a lovely weekend dish and looks really attractive served on a large platter in the middle of the table. It requires a few hours in the oven but is hardly any work at all and uses just a few ingredients.

Wine Suggestion: this dish cries out for a Moorish influenced wine and nothing quite achieves this more than a Spanish Tempranillo. Our choice of the evening was the Carmelo Rodero Ribera del Duero Crianza which is juicy, powerful and also manages to achieve a perfumed elegance with exotic eastern spice hints.

Pomegranate & slow cooked lamb couscous – serves 6

  • 2kg lamb shoulder (or get your butcher to give you a forequarter if the lambs are small)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses, plus extra to serve
  • 300g couscous
  • butter
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • a small bunch of mint, leaves roughly chopped
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Put the lamb into a roasting tin with the fatty side facing up. Scatter the onion around the lamb. Score the lamb with a sharp knife and rub in the pomegranate molasses with your hands. Season well. Add 2 mugs of water to the tin, then cover with foil and roast for 4 hours. Rest for 15 minutes before pulling chunks of the lamb off the bone with 2 forks.

While the lamb is resting, put the couscous into a large bowl with a large knob of butter, the harissa and seasoning, then add enough boiling water to just cover. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 5 minutes before fluffing the grains gently with a fork. Put the couscous onto a platter and arrange the shredded lamb on top. Pour off any fat from the roasting tin and pour the juices over the lamb and couscous plus a little more molasses. Scatter with the mint and pomegranate seeds.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes IN: BBC Olive Magazine, February 2014.)

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Feta, fresh & semi-dried tomato couscous

We cooked this dish while camping in France and it was a great side dish for all sorts of barbecued meat. It’s also a great idea for using up leftover sun-dried tomatoes which can easily get forgotten in the back of our fridge.

Tomato & Feta Couscous Salad – serves 4

  • 200g couscous
  • 250g piece of feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 50g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 heaped tbsp chopped basil leaves

Put the couscous into a large bowl, pour over boiling water to cover, then leave to soak for 20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.

Marinate the feta in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil for about 20 minutes.

Chop the cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes and mix together.

Crumble the marinated feta into large pieces, then fork through the couscous with the tomatoes and basil and season to taste.

(Original recipe from Eat by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

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Tomato party

This dish celebrates all the juicy tomatoes we’re picking in our garden at the moment. We only had red ones when we made this but a week before we had a glut of yellow toms too. It doesn’t matter which you use, they’ll all taste great.

Wine suggestions: We have tried a couple of very successful wines with this dish, but the trick is to make sure the wine has a slightly higher acidity and good minerality; try smaller, quality winemakers and this will be a good guide. Successful wine matches have been Umani Ronchi’s Vellodoro Pecorino and Casal di Sera Verdicchio – both great matches, Joguet’s Chinon Cuvée Terroir (delicious Cabernet Franc), and the Gulfi Cerasuolo from Sicily.

Tomato Couscous – serves 4

  • 125g couscous
  • olive oil
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 150g fregola (giant couscous)
  • 300g medium vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150g yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped oregano
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped mint
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small green tomato, cut into thin wedges
  • 100g tomberries or halved cherry tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3.

Put the couscous in a bowl with a pinch of salt and drizzle of oil. Pour over the boiling water, stir and cover the bowl with cling film. Set aside for 12 minutes, then remove the cling film, separate with a fork and leave to cool.

Put the fregola in a pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 18 minutes, or until al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Leave to dry completely.

Meanwhile, spread the quartered vine tomatoes over half of a large baking tin and sprinkle with the sugar and some salt and pepper. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar and some oil over the top. Place in the oven. After about 20 minutes take the tomatoes out of the oven and increase the temperature to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6.

Spread the yellow tomatoes over the empty side of the baking tin. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Return the tin to the oven and roast for 12 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

Mix the couscous and fregola in a large bowl. Add the herbs, garlic, cooked tomatoes with all their juices, the green tomato and tomberries. Very gently mix everything with your hands. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper and olive oil as needed.

(Original recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press, 2010.)

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We’re always looking for easy things to take to work for lunch. This can be made with almost anything you have left in the fridge but we make it most often when we’ve only used half a pack of feta cheese for another recipe. The more herbs you add the better so its great for using up the ends of those little packs.

Quick couscous salad – makes 4 large portions 

  • 250g couscous
  • 400ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • small jar of chargrilled red peppers in olive oil, drained and diced
  • ½ cucumber, chopped small
  • scallions, finely chopped
  • feta cheese, cut into cubes
  • lots of chopped herbs

Put the couscous in a large bowl and cover with the hot stock. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 10 minutes. Remove the cling film, drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and season.  Separate the grains with a fork and leave to cool a bit.

While the couscous is still warmish, add the rest of the ingredients and toss gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning and add more oil if it needs moisture. Eat at room temperature.

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Delicious and speedy after-work dinner.

Moroccan Chicken Wings with Herby Couscous – to serve 4

  • 1kg chicken wings
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp harissa paste, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 medium orange, zested and juiced (you need about 6 tbsp)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 150g couscous
  • large bunch mint
  • large bunch coriander
  • preserved lemon, enough to give 2 tbsp when finely chopped
  • 0% fat Greek yoghurt to serve

Heat the grill to high. Put the wings into a large roasting tin and grill for 15 minutes, turning once, until golden.

Mix the maple syrup, harissa and cumin with the zests, half of the orange and lemon juices and some seasoning. Pour this over the wings and give the tray a good shake to coat everything, then return to the grill for another 15 minutes until browned and stick, turning once.

Add the rest of the citrus juices to the dry couscous, then add enough boiling water to cover. Clingfilm the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Roughly chop the herbs.

Stir the couscous with a fork to separate the grains, then add the herbs, preserved lemon, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and some seasoning. Serve with the wings and a spoonful of yogurt mixed with a bit more harissa.

Beer Suggestion: Choose once of the fuller-flavoured lagers such as Kirin from Japan, it’ll work a treat.

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Another fantastic vegetarian recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi with fabulous flavours and interesting textures. This was so good we made it twice in one week.

The ultimate winter couscous – to serve 4

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 8 shallots, peeled
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • 300g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks
  • 75g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 200g chickpeas (tinned are fine)
  • 350ml water
  • 170g couscous
  • large pinch saffron threads
  • 260ml boiling vegetable stock
  • 20g butter, cut into pieces
  • 25g harissa paste
  • 25g preserved lemon skin, finely chopped
  • 30g coriander
  • salt

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/Gas Mark 5. Put the carrots, parsnips and shallots in a large ovenproof dish. Add the cinnamon sticks, star anise, bay leaves, 4 tbsp of the oil, 3/4 tsp salt and all the other spices and mix well. Put in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the pumpkin, stir and return to the oven. Cook for another 35 minutes or until the vegetables are soft but still have a bit of a bite. Add the apricots and the chickpeas and water. Put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes or until hot.

About 15 minutes before the vegetables are done, put the couscous in a large heatproof bowl with the last tablespoon of olive oil, the saffron and 1/2 tsp of salt. Pour the boiling stock over the couscous. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for about 10 minutes. Then add the butter and fluff with a fork until it has melted in. Cover again and keep warm until the vegetables are ready.

To serve, spoon the couscous into a deep plate or bowl. Stir the harissa and preserved lemon into the vegetables; season with salt if necessary. Spoon the vegetables onto the centre of the couscous and finish with lots of coriander.

Wine Suggestion: While spices are usually hard to pair with wine, the aromatic quality of this dish would work well with a good, off-dry Pinot Gris from Alsace (the good producers put a handy sweetness scale on the side of their bottles). Alternately a juicy grenache with softer, ripe tannins and a velvety spice  would taste good too if you’d like a red. Try to find a grenache based Priorat from Spain if you want to push the boat out a bit!

(Original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Ebury Press 2010.)

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