Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Easy after-work recipes: Lamb, tomato and cous cous

I've decided to start a series on my blog called Easy after-work recipes. A lot of the food I throw together is done fairly hastily, in a tired and grumpy sort of way, either after a day of work or a day of studying (or a day of work plus studying). Working part-time and studying part-time admittedly does allow me some flexibility with cooking, but having worked full-time for most of my working life, I know full well what it's like to get home at 6pm or later and then have to try to think of something to cook which is quick and doesn't require much energy, but at the same time provides us with some nutrition, and helps us to keep off the takeaways!

I will be using an 'after-work recipes' tag, so please go there if you want to see more of my recipes as I add them.

I hope these recipes will be useful to people and will at least give ideas for quick and easy things that can be done in a fairly short amount of time. I'm not claiming '15-minute meals' or anything, but things that don't take too much effort and should have you fed within the hour. My recipes are usually inspired by what's available in my fridge and store cupboard, and on the whole should be fairly adaptable.

Anyway, on with the first recipe!

Lamb, tomato and cous cous
Serves 2
Prep. time - 10 - 15 mins
Cooking time - 20 - 25 mins

Olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
100g mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 lamb steaks, sliced
1 400g can tomatoes
1 lamb stock cube (or vegetable stock cube)
1 tsp dried thyme
100g Israeli cous cous
2 tsp frozen chopped parsley
salt and pepper

1. Fry the red onion, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic on a low-medium heat for a few minutes until starting to soften. Add the lamb slices and continue to fry until brown.
2. Add the can of tomatoes. Crumble in the stock cube and add the dried thyme. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced a little.
3. Add the Israeli cous cous (or regular cous cous). Israeli cous cous takes about 10 minutes to cook; regular cous cous takes about 5 minutes. If it's starting to look a little dry, add a bit of water. Keep an eye and stir occasionally so it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the frozen chopped parsley at the end. Season with salt and pepper (I didn't add any extra salt because I used quite a salty stock cube).

This is a very adaptable recipe: you could vary the veg according to what you have in the fridge. I think this would work with chicken instead of lamb, and you can could use a vegetable stock or a chicken stock cube. You could use whatever dried/fresh/frozen herbs you have available. I realise that Israeli cous cous isn't always the easiest thing to find in shops, so regular cous cous would be fine, or you could use orzo or even small soup pasta. You could also cook some pasta separately and serve the sauce on top.

This was an easy, tasty meal cooked after a long and tiring day and being a one-pot meal also did not generate much washing up. Hurrah!

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