Updated: Mar 10, 2019
Couscous is a traditional North African delicacy, one of the emblematic dishes of the traditional cuisine of the Maghreb
The couscous is served most often with a vegetable stew and meat, sometimes presented in a traditional terracotta tajine dish.
According to recipes, geographical or family, including in the Maghreb countries (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia ...), the couscous is not cooked with the same ingredients.
Thus, in Morocco, vegetable couscous is almost never served during ceremonies, except during burials (with the exception of certain rural and Berber regions). There are several festive couscous in Morocco, including couscous tfaya and couscous seffa.
In France, in Parisian restaurants, "royal" couscous combines several meats such as merguez and beef, lamb and drumsticks.
Ingredients for 10 persons
1kg couscous (medium or fin grain), 100gr Smen rancid butter (ghee or normal butter as alternative), 250gr raisins, Olive oil, 150gr honey, Coarse sea salt, Pepper and salt, Harissa to serve with the dish
500gr chickpeas, 1 yellow onion, 3 red onions, 8 zucchinis, 4 turnips, 10 carrots, 2 to 3 eggplant, 4 celery sticks, ¼ pumpkin, 2 bell peppers, A few white chillies (optional)
Seasoning and spices;
1 lamb shoulder, 2 pieces of lamb rib, 2kg beef short rib, 10 chicken drumsticks
It all starts the evening before; pour the chickpeas in a bowl and add cold water (soak at least for 12 hours)
The same for the raisins; add a cinnamon stick and cold water.
Rub the lamb shoulder with coarse sea salt and honey, cover with plastic food wrap.
Salt the lamb ribs and rub with the ras el hanout spice mix (red), then again cover with food wrap.
Have a good night sleep; you’re going to spend the most of the day in the kitchen tomorrow!
Coat an oven plate with a few drops of olive oil, unwrap the lamb shoulder and place on the plate
Preheat the oven up to 150°C, the shoulder is going to cook for 5 to 6 hours “low and slow” (don’t forget to baste with the juices once and a while).
Cut the bones (reserve for the stock) from the beef ribs and cut the beef in medium size chunks.
Time to make the stock, fill the couscous steam pot half full with water add the bones and the beef chunks with the celery leaves, one onion, tomatoes, cloves, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and 2 tbsp of ras el hanout (yellow).
Let the stock simmer for 2 ½ hours (until the beef is tender).
Cover the chickpeas with fresh water and cook on a slow boil for 1 ½ hour.
Drain the chickpeas and add enough stock to cover, and then add a few tbsp of honey and let simmer for ½ hour.
When the beef is cooked and tender: reserve, and discard the rest of the ingredients from the stock.
Adjust the stock with salt, pepper and ras el hanout and add the drumsticks, they need about 40 minutes to cook and then reserve as well.
Pour the couscous (semolina) on a plate and ad 2 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of sunflower oil.
Roll the grains between your hands until all is absorbed, then add ½ litre cold water, wait until absorbed and roll the grains again between your hands.
Chop the greens of the carrots, place them on the bottom of the steam pot and add the couscous on top.
Set the heat on medium.
Place the couscous on top and seal eventually with aluminium foil cover with the lid.
Let the semolina steam for 15 minutes, then loosen the couscous grains again, use a whisk if too hot.
Steam the couscous for another 15 minutes and let cool down a little.
Add 4 tbsp of rancid butter and roll the grains between your hands to loosen again.
The couscous needs to steam again for 15 minutes just before serving!
As the lamb shoulder cooks for already 4 hour add the lamb ribs and the white chillies for the next 2 hours.
Cut the red onions in slices and fry them in a skillet, when they become translucent add the raisins and let the juices reduce on medium heat (kill the heat when golden brown).
Cut all the vegetables in big chunks and add them to the stock; the turnips, carrots and pumpkin need 45 minutes cooking while the rest needs about 30 minutes.
Once the veggies are done, reserve in a warm place.
Put the beef and drumsticks back in the stock and steam the couscous for the last 15 minutes.
Warm up the veggies if necessary.
Now where almost done! “Yes I know it was a helluva job”.
Take a nice plate and pour the couscous in the middle, place the veggies, beef and drumsticks all around and you ready to feast on this amazing dish