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Cous cous and wintery herby veges

June 22, 2009

I finally decided to grab some wholemeal couscous at Piko’s the other day, and I now really wished the other packet I’d bought was wholemeal too. Unlike wholemeal flour, which cooks differently in bread and has a definite flavour (bitter but nutty), wholemeal couscous cooks exactly the same as the normal stuff, and barely tastes any different. The texture is similar enough – but it keeps its shape much better, so really, I don’t see a reason to ever get white again. If you’ve ever considered getting more wholegrains into your diet, this is a great way to start – remember that couscous is the fastest, easiest grain to cook!

couscous-1Perching atop that mountain is my fresh herb trio (they’re all shivering outside in the garden, along with the oregano which I now can’t find among the forest of rocket plants): rosemary, sage and thyme, the wintery herbs that make this combo feel as comforting a steaming bowl of noodle soup. Easy enough to adapt for vegan friends, too – just be sure to use vege stock and olive oil instead of butter.

Also, I was comparing the two different kinds of cous cous (plain & wholegrain) and wholegrain has a respectable amount of iron in it (1/3c gives 10% of your RDI of iron). It also had a small amount of calcium, as opposed to none in the white, and slightly more protein. Just a thought, even though I normally don’t espouse nutritional advice… I think it’s winter and the fact that everyone is getting sick. Take care of yourselves and eat well damnit!

Cous cous with cabbage, mushrooms, and wintery herbs

serves 2 hungry souls

1c wholemeal couscous
1c vege or chicken stock, super hot (bring to a boil, or use bouillon/stock cubes + just boiled water)*
about 25g butter or some olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped
about 2c finely sliced cabbage
as many mushrooms as you want (or substitute matchstick-cut carrots if you hate mushrooms)
a small handful of fresh rosemary, thyme and sage leaves (discard stalks), or 1/2 tsp each dried, finely chopped with 4 cloves of garlic (hey, it’s good for the immune system!)
salt and pepper to taste (at the end)
more butter, or olive oil if you’re harbouring illusions of diet consciousness
about 1/4 cup powder-finely grated parmesan (optional)

*If you’re out of stock, to be honest I think this dish will work fine without it, as long as you compensate with salt.

Pour hot water over cous cous in bowl or saucepan and cover (not with clingfilm if you can help it, but just a plain pot cover – come on, it’s easier and cheaper). Let sit about 3-5 mins before uncovering, fluffing it up with a fork, and re-covering. If you’re a multi tasker, you can do this while your onions are cooking.

In a large frypan or wok, melt butter or heat olive oil (about 25g/3Tbs) on medium heat, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add onions, and cook on one layer until translucent, shaking and tossing every now and then. Once quite translucent and beginning to go golden, add cabbage, and let sit on one layer, cooking until the undersides are lightly golden, and then tossing. Keep doing this until the cabbage starts getting softer and starts taking on golden notes all over.

Mix in garlic, herbs, and mushrooms, and let cook on an even layer until the undersides of the mushrooms get golden fringes. Stir, and mix in all the cous cous. You may want to add the butter specified with the cous cous now as well. Continue cooking for a minute and then remove from heat. Stir in parmesan now if using, and serve up.

I haven’t tried this heated up the next day, but I can’t imagine it would be too bad, as long as you avoided the microwave. Just make sure to fridge it overnight, and you should be fine.

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