Couscous: Cook Once Eat Twice
To prepare couscous symbolizes “happiness and abundance,” according to A Mediterranean Feast, by Clifford A. Wright. It’s easy to see why. A staple in North Africa and Middle Eastern dishes, couscous is a perfect match for fragrant stews, soaking up all the wonderful flavors in the broth.
It’s a versatile grain that’s as comfortable in salads and porridges as it is in those amazing stews. (One of my favorite ways to brighten the flavor of couscous is by using orange juice as a base for the cooking liquid.) So this week I’m putting this lovely grain to the cook once, eat twice test.
The Moroccan Lamb and Vegetable Couscous is a meal in itself, loaded with meat and vegetables: zucchini, carrots, and tomatoes, among them. Lamb shanks become fall-off-the-bone tender when you cook them low and slow, and in this broth they’ll never dry out. Fresh herbs and spices such as cumin, saffron, and mint add wonderful aromatic notes (which is a hallmark of Moroccan food). On its own, the dish makes great leftovers (the flavors deepen over the course of a day, which also means it’s a great make-ahead dish), and it’s easy to heat up the following day.
Day Two: For a delicious brown-bag lunch, I’m packing a Couscous Salad with Feta and Mint, which is ideal when served at room temperature. I love the addition of edamame for an added layer of texture. It also makes the salad a more satisfying, nutritious meal. Since I already have extra precooked couscous, I can simplify the (already easy) recipe and skip the first step. I just toss the precooked couscous in with the rest of the vegetables.
A Breakfast Alternative: Whenever I have leftover couscous, it’s time for a cozy couscous breakfast porridge. Instead of oatmeal, I simply use my precooked couscous, adding a bit of hot water and topping it with golden raisins, pine nuts, honey, and steamed milk for a quick and easy start to the day.