Couscous with butter and broad beans

Couscous with butter and broad beans

Couscous au beurre

By
From
Hazana
Serves
4
Photographer
Mowie Kay

This dish is usually served for the festival of Mimouna, which is held at the end of Passover to mark the beginning of spring and the start of a new cycle of existence. At one time the festival was unique to the Jews of the Maghreb, but it is now also celebrated in Israel. The festive table is decorated with flowers and herbs, green ears of corn and barley and all kinds of pastries and confectionery, especially jabane (nougat), a raisin and walnut jam called mrozya, and mofletah (pancakes), usually served with mint tea. Like this couscous, the foods on the table are sweet; nothing is salted, nor is any black food or meat served. In the centre of the table is a plate of white flour topped with five broad bean pods filled with five eggs, five dates and five pieces of gold or silver – to invoke a prosperous year ahead. The display is not only intended to attract divine protection, but also to avert the evil eye.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g freshly shelled or frozen baby broad beans
4 tablespoons butter
2-3 shallots, finely chopped
350g couscous
450ml hot water
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
30g raisins, soaked, in hot water for 20 minutes
30g blanched almonds, lightly toasted in a 180°C oven until golden
buttermilk or yoghurt, to serve

Method

  1. Steam the broad beans for 15–20 minutes or until they are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, melt half of the butter in a heavy saucepan and cook the shallots over a moderate heat until they are starting to turn golden. Add the couscous and stir well. Pour in the hot water and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid and let stand for 5–10 minutes. Dot with the remaining butter and fluff up with a fork. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and shape into a mound. Dust with icing sugar and cinnamon and arrange the broad beans over the top. Scatter with raisins and almonds and serve at once, with a bowl of buttermilk or yoghurt on the side.
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