LE THIÉRÉ BASSI

 

COUSCOUS

1.5 kg of millet flour

500 gr of rice flour

salted water

lalo

2 spoonfuls of water

dates

beans

raisins

prunes

 

SAUCE

meat

salt

pepper

merguez sausages

concentrated tomato paste

2 ladles of water

onions

green onions

leeks

parsley

thyme

bay leaves

basil

garlic

vegetables

pepper

tomatoes

oil

1.5 l of water

sweet potatoes

pumpkin

sugar

minced meat

dairy butter

 

Preparation Coucous : To make 2 kg couscous you need 1.5 kg of millet flour mixed with 500 gr of rice flour. Roll all the flour in a large calabash while sprinkling with salted water and working it to obtain grains smaller than pinheads but bigger than grains of sand In the major capitals this long, fastidious job is today entrusted to professionals Steam the grains then transfer them into a calabash and crush them; add the lalo and 2 spoonfuls of water and mix it all together before steaming the mixture again. When the steam starts spurting out, take the pan off the heat, crush the mixture again then add the dates, beans, raisins and prunes. Cover the pan to retain the heat
Preparation sauce : Wash and drain all the meat then season with salt and pepper. Take out the merguez sausages. Dilute the concentrated tomato paste with two ladles of water. Peel, wash and cut the onions, green onions and leaks into large slices. Put them in a food mixer along with the parsley, thyme, bay leaves, basil and garlic ; mix them finely but do not let them turn into a purée or a paste. Peel, wash and chop the vegetables into large chunks. Cut the pepper into medium slices ; cut the tomatoes into quarters. On a medium heat pour the oil into a large pot. When the oil is hot, fry the merguez for 6 to 10 minutes then take them out and put them on a plate to one side. Put all the meat into the hot oil and brown it until half-cooked, turning regularly, then take it out with a draining spoon and leave to one side. Put the chopped onions and herbs into the pot and leave to cook for 10 minutes without browning, then add the diluted tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper then leave to simmer for fifteen minutes. When the oil starts separating from the tomato paste, add 1.5 l of water to put an end to this untimely quarrelling. (Spoon out four measures of this sauce with a ladle to cook the meatballs in later). When it starts boiling, add the meat and all the vegetables except the sweet potatoes and the pumpkin. Cover and simmer for 1 hour when the frothing sound of cooking is no more than a sigh : Add the sweet potatoes and the pumpkin and leave to simmer for half an hour. Then lower the heat. When the sauce has reduced by half (half thick) turn off the heat, add the merguez and the sugar, stir gently then cover the pot and leave to stand. Using the minced meat, make mini meatballs in the classic fashion, but making sure they are very small, the size of a marble. Plunge them into hot oil but do not fry them, leave them just long enough to whiten. Then put them into a pan containing the sauce extracted earlier and leave them to cook until the sauce has partly reduced. Add the mini-meatballs and sauce to the couscous along with the dairy butter if desired. Mix it all together.
To serve : Serve the couscous in two large round enamel dishes then place the meat, merguez and vegetables in the middle. Gently pour the sauce over the couscous. Traditionally, when the dish has been ¾ eaten, fresh milk is poured on it. Thiéré Bassi is the only dish in Senegal that combines meat and milk, sweet and savoury. When the dish is empty, the head of the family turns it over to stop slanderous spirits from seeing its bareness but also to signify that the year has ended. At this moment the children dress up and go out into the streets.

Serves 6.

 

country : Senegal

course : meat dish

 

source : Donna Polakowski [IRE_Potluck]