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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Arabian Couscous

Arabian Couscous
Try the Arabian couscous with spiced rack of lamb. It is a wonderful couscous recipe.

For the harissa paste
  • 25g/1oz dried large red chillies
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 generous tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60ml/2fl oz olive oil
  • ¼ tsp ground paprika
For the rack of lamb
  • 1 prepared rack of lamb (2-3 cutlets per person depending on their size and your appetite!)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the couscous
  • 100g/4oz couscous
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 150ml/¼pint light chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • ½ red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50g/2oz flaked almonds, toasted
To serve
  • Greek yoghurt (optional)
  1. To make the harissa paste, split the chillies in half lengthways, remove and discard the seeds and soften the chillies in boiling water for five minutes.
  2. Dry fry the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan on a medium to high heat for about one minute, tossing regularly, until the spices just begin to smoke and toast. Then grind in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle.
  3. Place the garlic, salt, ground spices and the drained red chillies in a food processor or blender and blend to a paste, slowly adding the olive oil until well combined. Set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
  5. For the rack of lamb, score the fat lightly in a criss cross pattern, but without cutting through to the meat. Place the lamb in a roasting tray, spread a generous tablespoon of the harissa paste over the fat and press it down onto the fat using your hands or a spoon.
  6. Roast for 20 minutes for rare to medium meat, 25 minutes for well done meat (this is for a small rack - cook for 30-32 minutes for a larger rack). After ten minutes, cover the rack with a sheet of tin foil to prevent the harissa paste from burning.
  7. For the couscous, placethe couscous into a bowl, rub in the olive oil so that the grains are coated, and pour over the hot stock. Stir and then put a plate or saucepan lid on top and leave to stand for five minutes, until the couscous has absorbed all the stock.
  8. Add the parsley, mint, onion and most of the toaste flaked almonds. Stir well and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  9. Once the lamb is cooked, turn off the oven and leave the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes. Carve it by cutting through the meat between the bones with a sharp carving knife to give each person 2-3 cutlets (depending on the cutlet size).
  10. To serve, spoon the couscous onto warmed plates and arrange the lamb cutlets on top. Scatter with the remaining toasted flaked almonds, and a spoonful of Greek yoghurt, if you wish.
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