Disclaimer: I was sent the wholemeal couscous by San Remo.
As you may have gathered, I am quite keen on couscous but one thing I normally steer well clear of is wholemeal pasta. I had a very unhappy experience with it as a child (it was so horrible we ended up feeding it, uncooked, to my pet mouse, who loved it) so I was both sceptical and interested when San Remo released the new wholemeal couscous. Out for a drink, I mentioned it to a friend who got quite excited about the idea and immediately said she’d look out for it. So I’m assuming that more than reader will be interested to know a higher fibre, lower GI version of couscous exists and is produced by a South Australian company!
Anyway, new couscous meant time to try out a new recipe. Given that the Moroccans should know a thing or two about couscous, I turned to Made in Morocco and when I spotted the recipe for a couscous salad made with chickpeas and goat’s cheese I was sold.
This recipe isn’t flawless – so read on for what I did and what I will do next time!
Begin by roasting and skinning some red capsicums. Heat your oven to 200°C (conventional), cut your capsicums in half and place them skin side up on a tray (for ease of cleaning, I recommend a tray lined with baking paper). Drizzle over some olive oil and roast for ~ 30 minutes or until the skin starts to char and blister. Remove from the oven, place in a bowl and cover with cling film so that they sweat. Once they’ve cooled, you’ll be able to peel them quite easily! Slice and set aside.
In a large pan (I used a Corningware pan, so it could go straight from stove to table), heat some olive oil and lightly cook one largeish onion, finely chopped. Add two cloves of crushed garlic, 1 tsp of turmeric and ½ tsp of ground cinnamon. Quickly cook off the spices before adding 1½ cups of stock (chicken or vegetable).
Bring the stock to the boil and add 1½ cups of couscous (I used 50:50 white and wholemeal). Stir through the couscous and remove from the heat. Cover and leave for ~ 10 minutes, then fluff up the couscous and leave to cool a little.
When you’re ready to serve, stir through the remaining ingredients: 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, 150g of goat’s cheese, crumbled (I used Udder Delights’ chèvre which is widely available in supermarkets, but not particularly cheap), the juice of one lemon (I also added some grated rind) and plenty of fresh mint and parsley. While you can live without the parsley (we did) don’t skimp on the mint.
If you have it, top the salad with some finely sliced rind of preserved lemon.
This recipe is good in principle but there are a few problems. Firstly, the recipe says it serves four. Really? 1½ cups of couscous more like serves about 10. I brought this salad to our Christmas lunch of 8 adults and one child and only about a quarter of it was eaten! Secondly, I feel that the proportions are slightly out of whack. There are too many chickpeas, possibly not enough goat’s cheese and definitely not enough capsicum.
I’d definitely make a variation on this again. I’d do the onion, garlic, turmeric and cinnamon, I’d omit the chickpeas altogether and would increase the amount of roasted capsicum (or add other roasted vegetables, as I think some roast pumpkin would work really well here). Unless I was making this to take to a massive BBQ I’d also halve the quantities.
Recipe issues aside, the wholemeal couscous worked a treat. Andy didn’t even notice the difference and the next couscous salad I make (which will be on Monday, different recipe next time!) I’m going to use 100% wholemeal, not half and half.