Enza described how the night before she and her italophile friend, whom I am looking forward to meet in the kitchen, made a baked rice and potatoes dish tweaked by a middle-eastern accent. Yes, a starch on starch dish. Many of my American friends cringe at such a thought. No shame here: a perfectly good old , hearty peasant dish, quick to make and quick to wash down with a good glass of fruity white wine. I decided to run with it, literally run with it. Just as in running, things move fast, I cut out the baking part to shave at least 45 minutes off of the cooking time, and replaced rice, with middle-eastern cous-cous for extra speed. The dish took less than 45 minutes from start to finish.
Rustic Potatoes cooked in Cous Cous
|Potatoes cooked in Cous-Cous|
Preparation is rather simple. Peel and cut the tubers in large chunks ensuring the at least one side of the cut potatoes has a flat edge. Place the potatoes face down in a high edged pan add, EVOO, S/P, a shot of white wine, 1 to 2 cups of chicken broth (substitute water if you want) , herbs of your choice (dried thyme rocks), thin slivers of garlic and a tablespoon of Danish butter. To impart some middle-eastern flavor to the dish, add a tablespoon of ground coriander and a tablespoon of ground cumin. Cook covered with a lid until 3/4 of the liquids are absorbed. Adjust the seasoning and liquids in case you need to. When the potatoes feel almost cooked, cover them with a layer of cous-cous . The cous-cous, should absorb the remaining liquids. Turn the heat to a super-low setting, and cook for a few more minutes with a lid. Steam should form in the pan, and that steam will take care of the final cooking, tenderizing the cous-cous. Occasionally , sprinkle some drop of water on the cous-cous on the spots where it appears that the steam has not done its job. Once cooked, let the dish rest in the pan , covered for a few more minutes.Then transfer to bowl and fluff up. If you get this right, the cous-cous should remain "al dente"
Enza's daughter has studied Arabic. Maybe I should ask her how to wish folks a good meal in that langauge. For now I will stick with my old ways: Bon Appétit !