Saturday, May 30, 2009

Harissa beef with couscous

Serves 4

The middle eastern heat and now the humidity, damn it, are making some days more tiresome than others right now, and the novelty may just wane on the odd occasion. Good job I've got access to some of the most remarkable flavour packed foodstuffs then. This particular number for example, fast, effective and foolproof. Couscous makes a great bed for a great chunk of crusty beef spiked with garlicky, blow-your-socks-off North African harissa chilli paste, and any of the couscous left at the end will happily turn itself into a gorgeous salad for tomorrow.

600g beef fillet, rolled and tied
1 tblsp harissa
1 tblsp olive oil
300g couscous
1 red onion, halved and finely sliced
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
sea salt and pepper
600g asparagus or green beans, trimmed
1 tblsp coriander leaves

Heat the oven to 220c/gas 7. Coat the beef with harissa and heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Sear the beef on all sides until browned, transfer to the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the beef, cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes. Toss the couscous with the red onion, extra virgin olive oil, spices, sea salt and pepper in a heatproof bowl.

Pour 500ml boiling water over the couscous, cover with foil and leave in the switched off oven for 10 minutes.

Cook the asparagus in simmering salted water for five minutes, then drain.

Arrange the asparagus on the couscous. Scatter with coriander leaves. Slice the beef thickly and arrange on top. Awesome...