Thursday, March 8, 2007

Braised Lamb and Eggplant Cous Cous – Easy, exotic, and a great case for gender bias!

Today’s post is perfect for the person that’s afraid to try anything that seems exotic because they think it’s going to be hard to prepare. Cous Cous has to be one of the easiest things on the planet to make. Can you boil stock and pour it into a bowl of Cous Cous? Then this dish is for you. This was a hard demo to edit down to a reasonable length, so I did go pretty fast with some of the steps and I thought I better give some additional info to help you follow along. So, I’ve put a few steps along with the usual ingredient list.

Cous Cous is a tiny, granular type of pasta that is as delicious, as it is simple to prepare. Usually considered Moroccan, this is also a staple in Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. The amazing thing about couscous is how fast it “cooks,” and how versatile it is. As long as you have some type of flavorful stock to prepare the Cous Cous, the meats and vegetables can be varied in countless ways.

Regarding the gender bias reference in headline; it has been claimed that female eggplants have more seeds than male eggplants. Those tiny white/grey seeds are what give eggplant it’s slightly bitter flavor, so Chefs are said to favor the male eggplants. Anyway, I show you how to “sex” an eggplant, and we also test the male vs. female theory. Wow, I feel like that “Myth Buster” guy. Enjoy the clip!

4 cups couscous
1 quart chicken stock
2 pounds lamb shoulder chops
2 eggplants
1/2 onion
1/2 cup diced tomato or sauce
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried Herb de Provence (or Italian herb mix)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 oz feta cheese (optional)
fresh herbs to garnish (mint, parsley, etc.)

* Season lamb with half the salt and pepper, brown well on both sides in a bit of olive oil in Dutch oven, remove and set aside.
* Add onion, rest of salt and pepper, sauté for 5 minutes.
* Add eggplant and sauté for 5 minutes.
* Add tomato, garlic, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, cumin, Herb de Provence, sauté for 5 minutes.
* Add stock and lamb, bring to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 2 hours.
* Remove lamb.
* Strain braising liquid from eggplant and reserve (you should have about 4 1/2 cups).
* Remove meat from bones and add to eggplant mixture, keep warm.
* Bring reserved stock to boil and pour over “oiled” Cous Cous (see clip)
* Cover tightly for 5 minutes, fluff and serve as shown in clip.


Anonymous said...

hi! i really want to try this dish (braised beef and eggplant coucous), but i was hoping to read a few comments from those who have tried it. does it taste good? how was it? let me know! thinking of cooking it for dinner this coming week! :)

Anonymous said...

what's a good replacement for HERB DE PROVENCE/ITALIAN HERB MIX? i dont think we have it here where im from...

Chef John said...

use dried rosemary, thyme, oregano

The Review Guy said...


Im going to try this, Looks tasty and looking farwart to trying it.

thanks for the video always great as usal.



Unknown said...

I tried this tonight and thought it was great! I'm not a huge lamb person, but my boyfriend is, so I gave it a try. Delish! When we eat it for leftovers, though, I think I'm going to make a yogurt/mint/cucumber sauce to dribble on top, as well as a spicy harissa.

By the way, I've been trying your dishes for the last few weeks since I stumbled on your site (looking for tamale pie!), and they all come out so great. I think my boyfriend dreams about your chicken parm. :) I can't wait to make biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, "risotto" with chicken and sausage, stuffed bell peppers.... Anyway, a big THANK YOU from a fellow San Franciscan.