Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mediterranean Braised Lamb and Couscous

The first time I had couscous was in a Mediterranean restaurant. They served it with loads of stewed vegetables and it quickly became one of my favourite meals. Unfortunately, after patronising the restaurant twice, the restaurant closed down. Just my luck.

I've been wanting to buy some couscous and make a dish of it but I never got round to it. A few days ago while shopping, I saw this box of couscous on a shelf just taunting me. Well, needless to say, I decided it was time to try to make a meal with couscous.

I came across this lovely recipe by Jamie Oliver. I was looking for a sauce of purely vegetables but couldn't find one that suits my taste. But if there should be meat, I think lamb is the way to go.

3/4 small onion ; peeled and sliced
Light olive oil ; or vegetable oil
375 grams Lamb shoulder ; or leg or lamb; diced into small pieces
3/4 clove Garlic ; peeled and crushed
3/4 red pepper ; diced
3/4 teaspoon tomato paste
300 grams tomato base sauce ; OR
300 grams plum tomato
300 mililiters water
1 1/2 sprig Fresh basil ; shredded
~~ -- Couscous -- ~~
94 grams couscous
113 grams vegetable stock

Heat a large saucepan and gently fry the onion in a little olive oil for 10 minutes. Add the diced lamb, the garlic, red pepper and tomato puree. Stir in the tomato base sauce, or tinned tomatoes, water and basil. Add salt to taste cover with a lid or a couple of tight layers of foil, then simmer on a low heat for around 1½ hours or transfer into a deep baking tin cover with foil and finish cooking it in the oven at 150 C/300 F/gas 2 for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Tip the dry couscous into a serving tin. Then pour the boiling vegetable stock on to the couscous - it should just cover it. Leave to stand for 10 minutes and then fluff up with a fork just before serving.

Serve the lamb with couscous and a mixed leaf salad.

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