Basics for couscous

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient




There must be seven vegetables, never fewer - usually onion, carrot, green peppers, courgettes, turnip, white cabbage, aubergine. An eighth is essential, tomato.

The lamb, too, is crucial. Tender 2 month old lamb is best, because it is tender. It is skinny. It has no fat, but is has the flavour of the herbs it feeds on, thyme, rosemary, wild fennel.

Basically, everything cooks in the pot for an hour, but the hard vegetables go in first and the tender vegetables for the last 20 minutes. That's it.

It cooks at a rolling boil, and there's the rub. For the last half hour, the couscous has to be cooked in a colander above it, where it steams.

We have problems trying to mimic this. For a start, we can't buy the quality of couscous he uses; one which readily takes on the flavours of the stew steaming underneath, and absorbs a certain amount of butter.

Most couscous sold in Britain, and France too, is pre-cooked, so follow the instructions on the packet. (Note, if it is too robustely steamed it will cook to a mush suitable only for invalids.) But for interest, should you be able to obtain authentic grain, this is how he cooks it. (Middle Eastern shops should stock it. It has a gutsy texture and character.) This is what Monsieur Boujeema Mars, eminent chef des cuisines, La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morrocco, does: There are three stages. He wets 12 ounces of couscous with one cup of water only. He lines a colander (which fits over his stew pan) with muslin, and put the couscous inside. Using the muslin, he ensures a tight seal between pan and colander. He places the lid loosely on top and steams the couscous for 10 minutes. He removes the colander, stirs in a knob of butter, adds another cup of water, and steams it a further ten minutes. He repeats the process a third time, making the cooking time 30 minutes in all. Posted to EAT-L Digest 21 Jul 96 Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 13:54:50 EDT From: erika metzieder <100627.3022@...> NOTES : Monsieur Boujeema Mars, chef des cuisines of La Mamounia, Marrakech,

Morocco, gave this recipe to the Independent. See also "Basics on Couscous".

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