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Christmas Eve Couscous



2 oz oil
1 lb onions, sliced
1 lb carrots, sliced
1 1/2 lb acorn squash - peeled, seeded & dic, ed
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground white pepper, or more
1 1/2 pt water or vegetable stock
1 lb courgettes - trimmed and sliced
1 lb frozen broad beans
1 salt
1 each squeeze lemon juice
1 dash sugar
1 chopped fresh coriander


1 lb couscous
1 tsp salt
2 oz butter


1 tbsp harissa sauce
15 oz canned chick peas, drained
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 oz raisins
4 oz pine nuts
8 oz soy yogurt
1 a dusting of paprika

First make the stew. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the
onions and fry for 5 minutes, then add the carrots, squash and
spices. Cook for a further 10 minutes, with a lid on, stirring from
time to time until all are buttery and spicy. Add the water or stock
and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are just
becoming tender. Add the courgettes and broad beans, and cook for a
further 5 minutes or so. Season with salt, lemon juice, and a little
sugar if necessary. (This is best made in advance and reheated, as
the flavours improve -- it is particularly good after freezing.) Now
make the grain. This is an unusual way to cook couscous, but I find
it gives the best results. Put the couscous into a baking tin and add
1 pint of water; immediately drain this off and return the couscous
to the tin. Leave it for 20 minutes, separating the grains with your
fingers after 10 minutes, or more times if you re passing. Put the
couscous into a sieve or steamer lined with a blue J-cloth. Set over
a pan of simmering water (it doesn t have to be the stew) for 20
minutes. Tip the couscous back into the baking tin and pour over 5 fl
oz cold water with the salt dissolved in it. Sift the grains with
your fingers and leave for 15 minutes, then put back into the lined
steamer and heat as above for a further 20 minutes. Sift with your
fingers into a serving bowl and stir in the butter. Set aside while
you put together the extras. To assemble and serve, take a ladleful
of liquid from the stew and add it to the harissa to make a thick
paste. Put this into a small bowl. Drain the chick peas. In a small
pan, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds, stirring for a moment or
two, then add the chick peas and stir until heated through. Put into
a second small bowl. Cover the raising with boiling water, leave for
10 minutes or longer to plump, then drain and put into a third small
bowl. Put the pine nuts into a fourth bowl -- they can be lightly
toasted if you like. Finally, put the yogurt into a fifth bowl and
dust the top with some paprika. To serve, ladle the stew over the
couscous and garnish with chopped fresh coriander.


Servings: 6



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