Galley: 1) the kitchen of a boat. Sally: 1) a venture off the beaten path, 2) a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position, 3) a witty remark.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Couscous Casserole

I'm in the early stages of exploration, but I'm beginning to suspect that any casserole/lasagne recipe intended to be baked can be successfully modified for cooking in a Dutch Oven on the stove top.

Yes, I made another Dutch Oven creation... and I don't want the Dutch Oven to be my NEW rut. But it does make such yummy, cozy food, and it has been quite cold for this time of year. Speaking of cold, we've had our share of colds and illness on this boat (quarantine flag anyone?), and the brunt of the illness has been borne by the three year-old crew member. So! While I have been cooking, I have also been quite busy wiping snot. Not at the same time mind you. That noted, cries of "Snot! Snot!" did take priority to blog posting. I must catch up.

I found this recipe in the latest issue of Parent's magazine, and remembered that I have carted around a small bag of couscous for.... years? I never knew what to do with it. This recipe answered the question.

Couscous Casserole

Adapted from Parent's Magazine

2 T. Olive Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. minced garlic
1 lb. ground beef
1 head broccoli (largish, rinsed and cut to small florets)
1/4 cup soup stock or water (I used water, it was fine)
4 cups pasta sauce
1/2 cup couscous
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan cheese (I used cheddar)

1. Get out your Dutch Oven and set aside. Perhaps not easier than preheating your oven, but better for your biceps!

2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic in 2 T. olive oil. After about five minutes, add the meat and stir; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, then set aside.

3. While meat is cooking, steam the broccoli florets. Be sure to stop steaming when they are tender but still bright green (I steamed my broccoli in a small pot, then removed broccoli and used same pot for next step. Fewer dishes!)

4. Heat the stock/water and the pasta sauce in above named small pot over medium heat. Bring to a gentle bubble, then add couscous. Stir well, cover, turn off heat; let sit 10 minutes.

5. Let the layering begin! Spoon a thick-ish layer of couscous mixture into bottom of Dutch Oven. Add shy 1/4 cup water (to help prevent burning). Top couscous with a layer of broccoli, then with a layer of meat. Repeat until you have used up all ingredients, ending with a top layer of couscous. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover.

6. Place your Dutch Oven over medium-low heat. Listen/check for bubbling. When all is merrily bubbling and the cheese has melted, it is finished! Serve hot, and enjoy!

We loved this. Coming out of the Dutch Oven, it doesn't hold its shape too well, but it was hearty and yummy, and all three of us ate big bowls (with enough left over for lunches).

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