Like a lot of the food that I write about, I really like onions. Normally they lurk in the background of the recipe, a bit like the baseline in a pop song. It is there and you are glad of it, because without the onion, the recipe would be minus a significant item.
However in this recipe, the onion takes centre stage, with the couscous providing a very pleasant supporting role
Serves 4. Preparation 15 minutes. Cooking 35 minutes
4 large red onions
150 gm couscous
150 ml vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic crushed
2 medium tomatoes
2 dessertspoons flaked almonds
1 dessertspoon sultanas chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
Carefully remove any dead skin from the onions
Put them in a saucepan, cover them with boiling water. Cover and bring water back up to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile in a small mixing bowl bring the stock to the boil, take it off the heat and add the couscous and allow to stand for 5 minutes to absorb the stock liquid.
Remove the onions from the saucepan with a slotted spoon. Reserve the liquid for future stock.
With a sharp vegetable knife slice a lid from each onion and put it to one side. Holding the onions still, wearing an oven glove.
Cut a deep cross into each onion, taking care not to cut too deep either into the base or the sides.
Carefully with the knife, take out successive layers starting from the centre, leaving 2 or 3 layers. Here I used my ‘special’ teaspoon, which I have sharpened. This does the job much better than a knife.
Place the treated onions in a greased baking dish.
Finely chop the removed onion and put them and the chopped tomatoes into a small saucepan. Add the oil and saute for a few minutes.
Add all the dry ingredients to the onion and stir well.
Add salt and pepper to your taste.
Add the couscous mixture and stir well.
Spoon into the onions, pressing down well and filling to the brim.
Put the lids back on.
Any mixture left over can be put into a small baking dish and cooked with the onions.
Put into a hot oven set at 180 C/350 F/Gas 4/Moderate for 20 minutes.
Serve immediately. I served these with steamed black cabbage and boiled potatoes.