It’s winter and we tend to eat a lot of one-pot-wonders, as we call them, so it was a nice change to barbecue some meat on the barbie last night (in 12 degree temperatures mind you!). You do not want to know how much we paid for the lamb backstrap (over $30) but the quality was excellent, and after hubby had marinated it for several hours in lots of Greek herbs, it was the tastiest meat I’d had all winter.
I decided to pair it with a pearl couscous salad. I’d never eaten pearl, or Israeli, couscous before and had been noticing it popping up around the place for several months. I didn’t want to add my usual couscous friends – currants, toasted almonds, chickpeas and herbs – so I did a little digging on the ‘net and discovered this recipe over at Smitten Kitchen. In the end hubby and I came up with this:
for the lamb:
500g lamb backstrap
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
for the couscous:
1 cup pearl couscous
1 and 3/4 cups chicken stock
375g cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
425g can lentils, drained and rinsed
juice of 1/2 lemon
Combine your lamb with the other ingredients, plus some salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Cover and refridgerate for as long as you can – preferably 30 minutes at least.
The cherry tomatoes can be ‘roasted’ one of two ways – you can arrange them cut side up on an oven tray and roast for around 1 hour in a low oven (around 130 degrees) or simply cook them on low heat in a fry-pan. I (actually it was hubby!) cooked them in the fry-pan until they started to split. While they were cooking I sprinkled in the salt and sugar.
Pour the stock into a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Throw in the couscous, turn the heat down to low and put the lid on. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the couscous is al dente and the stock has absorbed. When cooked, throw into a large bowl to cool to room temperature.
To the couscous add the roasted cherry tomatoes, lentils, herbs, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste and mix gently.
Cook your lamb to your liking – medium rare is usually best. Place atop your couscous and enjoy with more lemon juice!
Serves 2 ravenous adults and one toddler, or 3 hungry adults.