The culinary ramblings of a picky eater.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Couscous and Lentils-Poverty Meal

My husband and I have recently suffered through a rather difficult time, so we've been looking at our lives and trying to figure out how to simplify them a bit. Not just for simplicity's sake, but in order to make a bigger difference in the world. One of the things we've decided to do is eat a poverty meal once a week. Each month we'll have a region of the world we'll focus on, and as we eat the poverty meal that represents that area, we'll do a few things; we'll appreciate what we have more, we'll focus on others who may not be as fortunate as we are and pray for them, and we'll save just a smidge on our monthly grocery bill. If you want to hear more about our reasoning, you can do so here (toward the end of the post). I did a little research (emphasis on the little) to find out some info on various regions of the world and the common cuisine there. My goal in doing this is not to be absolutely authentic, but to be able to represent the area enough that we know who we're praying for. I realize what I decide to make is not going to be perfectly legitimate to the area, but it's enough for me.

We started doing this in April. April's region was North Africa, so I decided on couscous and lentils, two common staples in that area. I am giving out the recipe so that if anyone else wants to do something similar, they have a starting place. When we do these meals, we thank God for our own blessings, then pray for the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of the people in our region. We also pray for the governments, that they would be just and moral, as unfortunately so many are not. And then we pray that God would use us in some way in our lives to glorify Him.

Alright. Now that I've written a book in explanation, I'll move on the recipe. :) This is enough to serve two people, so adjust as necessary.

-1 cup beef broth (you can use chicken too)
-2/3 cup uncooked couscous

-1/2 cup dry lentils
-3 cups beef broth (or chicken broth)
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1 teaspoon chili powder
-1/4 teaspoon cumin

For Lentils-
Combine the broth and spices in a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil. Add the lentils, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and let simmer for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, until lentils are desired consistency. Keep an eye on them and stir occasionally so they don't burn. Keep an eye on the liquid level as well. If it starts to get too dry, add a little water. I like mine to resemble a stew, so there's a little liquid to serve with the lentils.

For couscous-
In a small pan, bring the broth to a boil. Add the couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let the couscous absorb the liquid for about 7 minutes, then fluff with a fork before serving.

To serve, spoon some of the couscous in a bowl. Pour some of the lentils over the couscous and eat as you remember North Africa.

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