|Arabian Lamb and Veggie Couscous|
Photo by: tr1stero
COUSCOUS ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF
ANÓN AL-ANDALUS, #370 ALCUZCUZ FITĪYĀNĪ, p 203-204
For 4 persons
4 ½ tbsp butter or 3 tbsp butter and 1½ lamb fat
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
large pinch of saffron threads
4 meaty lamb shanks (about 1 pound each)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
10 parsley sprigs and 1 large thyme sprig, tied in bouquet
3 large celery ribs, cut into 2” lengths
2 large carrots, cut into 2” lengths
2 diced eggplants
1 cup peas
1 cup couscous
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup slivered mint leaves
In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, crumble the saffron into 2 tablespoons of hot water and let stand 10 minutes.
Season the lamb shanks with salt and black pepper. Add them to the casserole and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the shanks are well browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Skim off fat and add the saffron and its liquid, the parsley bouquet and a large pinch of salt.
Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the lamb is tender, about 2 hours.
Transfer the lamb shanks to a large plate and cover tightly. Add celery and carrots to the casserole, cover and simmer over moderate heat until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add the eggplants and simmer uncovered until all the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and discard the parsley bouquet; set aside 2½ cups of the broth. Stir in the peas.
Remove the meat from the lamb shanks and cut it into ¾-inch pieces. Return the meat to the stew and discard the bones.
In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 1½ tbsp butter. Add instant couscous (see alcuzcucero) if using tradicional couscous). Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. In the meantime bring the reserved broth, with a large pinch of salt, bring to a boil. Slowly add the broth to the couscous fluffing it with a fork. (Some instant couscous brands do not require so much water.)
Season the lamb stew with salt and pepper. Put the couscous in a mound on a large platter with a high rim. Ladle the lamb and vegetables around the couscous. Sprinkle the lamb and couscous with a little broth., cinnamon and chopped mint leaves. Put the remaining broth in a bowl to be passed to eaters once they are served.