Couscous is the national dish of Morocco. It is made with water and flour that is hand rolled, so it is actually rolled pasta. Traditionally it is steamed over a pan of stewing vegetables, spices, garbanzo beans, and your choice of meat. The word couscous refers to the wheat pasta as well as to the prepared dish with sauce and vegetables. There are numerous ways to make couscous that vary from region to region. This is one of my favorite recipes.
2/3 c chickpeas,Dried
3 T olive oil
2 lb lean,boneless lamb shoulder
1/2 c white onions,Chopped
5 c water,Boiling
3 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 c ripe tomatoes
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg,Freshly Grated
1 bay leaf
2 t dried mint,Crushed
1 t (scant) salt (or),To Taste
1/4 t black pepper,Freshly Ground
4 medium-sized carrots
3 sm turnips
2 c couscous
3 sm zucchini
2 italian sweet peppers
1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in four times their volume of water in a
2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed 5- to 7-quart pot.
3. Cut the lamb into 1-inch cubes. Brown them (in batches, if necessary) on all
sides over moderate heat. Transfer the meat to a warm platter.
4. Reduce the temperature to low and saute the onions for 2 minutes, stirring
5. Add the lamb, boiling water, lemon juice, tomatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay
leaf, mint, salt, and pepper. Stir, cover, and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes.
6. Drain the chickpeas and stir them into the lamb mixture. Simmer the
ingredients, covered, for 45 minutes.
7. Begin this step 5 minutes before step 6 is completed. Peel the carrots and
turnips. Cut the carrots into 3/4-inch long segments and the turnips into 3/4-
inch cubes. When step 6 is completed, stir these ingredients into the pot
containing the lamb. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
8. Begin this step as soon as the carrots and turnips start simmering in step 7.
Put the couscous pellets in a 2- to 3-quart pan. Pour cold tap water into the pan
until it reaches a depth of 1 inch above the pellets. Soak the pellets for 10
9. Pour the couscous into a sieve, discarding the water. Return the couscous to
its soaking pan. Slowly strain two cups of the broth from the large pot into the
couscous. Bring this mixture to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 5 minutes over
10. Slice the zucchini into 3-inch cuves and the peppers into ¼ inch-thick rings.
When step 7 is completed, stir in both ingredients and simmer the mixture,
covered, for 10 minutes.
11. It should be time to turn off the heat under the simmering
couscous pellets as soon as the zucchini-and-pepper mixture starts
simmering in step 10. Fluff the pellets, cover the pan, and let it
stand for 8 minutes. Then pour off any remaining liquid.
12. Mound the couscous pellets in the center of a warm, large serving
platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and vegetables from
the pot and neatly arrange them around the mound.
Serves 6 to 8.