A couple of weeks ago, Dave said, “Why don’t you make that pork thing with the couscous? That was really good” “What pork thing with couscous?” I had no memory of it. “It had grapes and Middle Eastern spices…” Apparently this was a hit, but I had no recollection of it. Dave kept talking about it for a few days and then finally, a vague memory started to resurface. (That’s why I’m doing this series on my blog. It’s really just because I have an atrocious memory.)
Moroccan-style braised pork with couscous and grapes, How to Cook Everything Fast p. 786
- Meal: dinner, sometime last week
- Kid tried?: Yes.
- Keeper?: Yes.
- Cook’s grade: A-. Although it is definitely a 45-minute recipe, this is a fairly easy dish to make: brown some pork, cut thin, with spices, add more flavorings (harissa and tomato paste), then liquid (white wine), then some more flavorings (onion, grapes, etc.). Bring to a boil, let cook for 20 minutes or so, add the couscous, and wait another 5 minutes. This one does pass my “dash out to daycare” test (you can either braise it for up to 2 hours or follow the recipe through adding the couscous and then dash out), and it’s pretty easy to assemble. I like that a lot of the ingredients are pantry staples (yes, grapes are a pantry staple when you have a toddler), so it’s a good end-of-the-week, what-do-I-do-with-this-pork-we-have-in-the-freezer meal. I downgraded it because cutting 1.5 lbs. of pork shoulder (I used tenderloin because that’s what we had) into 1/2-inch pieces takes a while. Though, to be fair, I need to get our knives sharpened. I also downgraded it because I don’t love it as much as Dave does, though it is a pretty tasty dish. I used Israeli couscous, which we like so much better than regular couscous.
- Kid’s grade: B+. It’s always interesting to see which ingredient in a stew the Bug shows interest in. She wasn’t interested in the pork or the grapes (which I thought were a shoo-in). She LOVED the couscous. “More cooscoos?” I like finding those “gateway ingredients” to help me figure out other things that she’ll like.
Cooking tips for busy parents:
- I bet, though I have not put this to a test, it would be a good slow cooker dish. I base that on my discovery of Bittman’s ode to the slow cooker, which I recently discovered, in which he says you can use the slow cooker for many braised dishes.
I served it with Bittman’s tomato salad with olive oil and yogurt, which I and the Bug liked but didn’t love and Dave didn’t touch (as I suspected). I probably wouldn’t make it again unless I had tomatoes lying around, waiting to be used, so I’m not doing a report card on it.