winter couscous

Serve warm - feeds 4.

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
8 shallots, peeled
2 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
3 bay leaves
5 tbsp olive oil
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp chilli flakes
300g squash, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks (cleaned weight)
100g unsulphured dried apricots, roughly chopped
200g chickpeas (cooked or tinned)
350ml water (or chickpea liquor)
170g couscous
1 big pinch saffron fronds
260ml vegetable stock
20g butter, cut into small pieces
25g harissa
25g preserved lemon, finely chopped
1 handful picked coriander leaves

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Put the carrots, parsnips and shallots into a large, oven-proof dish, add the cinnamon, star anise, bay leaves, four tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and all the spices, and mix. Roast for 15 minutes, then add the squash, stir and roast for 35 minutes more, by which time the vegetables should have softened but retained their bite. Add the apricots, chickpeas and liquid, then return to the oven for 10 minutes, until hot.

Around 15 minutes before the vegetables will be ready, put the couscous in a heatproof bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, the saffron and half a teaspoon of salt. Boil the stock, pour over the couscous and cover with clingfilm. Leave for 10 minutes, then add the butter and fluff up with a fork until it melts in. Cover again and leave somewhere warm.

To serve, fill the base of a deep plate with couscous. Stir the harissa and lemon into the vegetables, taste, adjust the seasoning and spoon on to the centre of the couscous. Garnish with lots of coriander.

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posted by ramtops on 16 Feb 08 - 5378 views


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