Friday, 22 November 2013


Hi folks, really cold today, and I just got 1/2 cordero Segureño ( lamb from  Huescar ), the butcher who prepares it for me, divide the carreand the leg, to roast in the oven, and the shoulder and neck in small pices I use to make couscous. Not a Spanish dish but Granada was occupied by the Moors  since the 8 century until 1491 when the Catholic King and Queen , Fernando and Isabel, reconquered Granada, so we have many dishes inspired by the moorish cuisine. By the way on  Antena 3 Spanish TV the serie Isabel has been sent for a while, but still you can follow, the most important history of Granada, Monday nights at 10.30 pm, or read the book Isabel written by Javier Olivares.

When my children where small and I was working in Sierra Nevada, later in my Biggie Best Homedecoration shop, we always needed nannies in the afternoons, until we came home, the working time in Spain  divided in two morning and afternoon with the "siesta" in between is not very good for family life. Very often we where not home before 9 pm, and I always tried to find students to take care of them, 2 of the girls we had where from Marocco, and I had the priviledge to lerarn to make real home made couscous, and I even think I made the best out of the two recipes.

My daughter has been driving aroud the desert with friends in Marocco three times, and always take home the spices from the countryside, that can be one of the important thing for the finished result. But if you live in Spain , in or around the market places it use to be a spice stand where you can buy spices  and they use to have a cous cous mix. If not use the spices as I put in the recipe.

Shopping list for 6 pers. total prep time around 3 hours

2 faldas + cuello de cordero.              ( lamb shoulder and neck)
4 cebollas.                                          (onions)
1 kg tomates maduros.                       ( ripe tomatoes)
1 col                                                   ( cabbage)
300 gr judias verdes.                          ( green beans)
500 gr  zanahorias.                             ( carrots)
300 gr nabos.                                     ( turnips)
300 gr calabaza.                                ( butternut squash)
500 gr calabacin.                                ( zucchini)
250 gr garbanzos.                               ( chickpeas)
4 cucharadas de AOVE                      (virgen Extra Olive Oil)
Perejil fresco.un monton                       ( fresh parsley, a bunch)

Especias:                                              Spices:
Una pizca de :                                     A pinch of ground:
Clavo en polvo.                                   Clove  
Jengibre en polvo.                               Ginger
Curcuma.                                            Tumeric
Azafran.                                              Saffron
Laurel.                                                Laurel
Piemienta.                                           Pepper
Guindilla.                                             Chilli
Canela.                                               Cinnamon
Comino                                              Cummin

Agua.                                                Water
Sal.                                                    Salt

To make apart:
150 gr almendras peladas                 ( almonds, peeled)
3 cebollas.                                        ( onions)
Pasas sin pipas a gusto.                   ( raisins, seedless)
1 Canela en rama.                                (Cinnamon stick)
2 cucharadas de azucar.                   ( spoons of sugar)
3 cucharadas de AOVE.                  ( virgen extra olive oil)
3 o 4 cucharadas de agua.                ( spoons of water)

Start heating the olive oil, salt and pepper the meat a little, and let it fry intil light golden. Peel and slice the onions, add to the meat and scratch the bottom of the skillet, let the onion cook until transparent. While the onion cooks, I give the tomatoes a run in the food processor, if you don't have one, boil water, and let the tomatoes soak for a couple of min. then they are easy to peel.  Then chop into small  cubes, and add to the meat and onion with a couple of teaspoons of sugar to take away the acid taste, let fry for 20 min.
Meanwhile  peel and cut all the vegetables in small sticks, the cabbage in to halfs and each half into 4 pices with a little bit of tribe, so it doesn't fall apart during the cooking.

Fill your skillet to the half with cold water and bring to boil, add the green beans, the carrots, the turnips, and the cabbage like on the photo , put the slices of cabbage along the sides of the skillet so you are able to take them out without breaking them later.
Let cook for 10 min. Then add the chopped parsley, the butternut squash and the chickpeas, I always use the canned ones, but if you want, you can do the dry ones, put in water the night before, boil for 45 min. and strain before you add to the couscous. Let cook for another 5 min. before you
add all the spices and the zucchini, I use the mixes from Marocco, and use a lot of it, sort of 2 1/2 spoon, but
 start with a 1/2 teaspoon of each and try for your own taste, it shall be a little hot.
Then let cook for another 5 min.

In another skillet, heat the olive oil, the chopped onion, a pinch of salt, the cinnamon stick,the raisins and the almonds, let simmer for 10 min. Then add the sugar, a little ground cinnamon and the water, let cook until the water evaporates, and save.

In a oven proof mould put 1 cup of  couscous per 2 persons, and add some pices of unsalted butter, boil water as recomendes on the packet with a pinch of salt, throw the water over the couscous, and top  with plastic film for 5-6 min, then stir with a fork to get it fluffy, we use to serve each plate after th preferences of each family member, not all eat the meat, always with the couscou grains apart, and the almond/raisin sauce in a sauceboat.
A friend who had lunch with us, said she also add a chicken breast, because she likes the flavour of the lamb, but doesn't like to eat it, and then have the chicken intead, you can make it only with chicken, but in my opinion the taste of lamb is the best.

Spices from the stand outside the Almuñecar market.

Ready for the table.
 Tomorrow we have a girls Rummykub night here at home, we use to play once a week I`m telling you later.

Night, night !!!!!!!

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