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Recipe: Couscous with Lamb and Merguez

We love to serve couscous for a big dinner party.  This delicious all-in-one Moroccan meal (veggies, meat, and grain, all in the same dish) can be prepared ahead of time, and served family style.  Traditionally, the meat is served on platters, the vegetables and broth is served in a large soup bowl, and the couscous is served in a separate bowl.  Some harissa or spicy sauce can be added to the broth prior to serving.

Ingredients

3 pounds chicken thighs

1 1/2 pounds flank steak (optional)

4 quarts of water

6 carrots peeled

6 onions peeled

6 turnips peeled

6 leeks

1 bunch of celery

1 bouquet garni

salt and pepper

4 zucchini

4 tomatoes

2 pounds of ground lamb

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1 pinch caraway seeds

2 pinches ground coriander

2 tablespoons oil
1

2 packages of Merguez sausages (12 links)

8 lamb chops

1 quantity of couscous with chick peas (recipe follows)
or use packaged couscous and add canned garbonzo beans and golden raisins)

1 quantity of spicy sauce (recipe follows)
or use Harissa

First, put the chicken and the flank steak in a large cooking pot and pour in the cold water. Bring it to a boil and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours, skimming the fat regularly.

Slice the carrots, 4 onions, turnips, leek and celery and add to the pot along with the bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the pot back to a boil. Slice the zucchini and tomatoes thickly, and then add to the pot. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes.

In the meantime, finely chop the 2 remaining onions and mix with the ground lamb. Season with salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, caraway seeds and ground coriander. Mix everything in well and then shape into small balls using a tablespoon. Let sit for 15 minutes.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the meatballs, cooking over high heat until browned on all sides, but still medium rare inside.  Saute the lamb chops in the frying pan until rare to medium rare, about 4 – 5 minutes.  Saute the merguez sausages, just until cooked through.

Before serving, remove the bouquet garni and pour the stock and vegetables into a big soup pot. Serve the lamb chops, meat balls, and merguez on a platter. Serve the couscous in a separate serving dish.  Serve the spicy sauce on the side.

Coucous with Chick Peas

Ingredients

2 cups dried chick peas

2 cups golden raisins

4 pounds (8 cups) Couscous

Salt and white pepper

2/3 cup butter

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1 tablespoon quatre-épices (mixed-spice/ apple pie spice)

1/2 cup tomato paste

1/2 cup chicken stock

The chick peas first need to be soaked overnight in cold water. Then drain the chick peas, place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring it to a boil and let simmer for 3 hours.

In the meantime, soak the raisins in fairly warm water. Put the couscous in a bowl and cover with cold water and 2 tablespoons of salt; let it rest until the grains have absorbed all the water.

Place the couscous into the top of the couscoussier or steamer. Steam over boiling water, keeping the lid on for 30 minutes.

Put the couscous back in a bowl and pour in another cup of water. Place it back in the steamer for another 25 minutes.

Again, put the couscous back in the bowl and crumble out any lumps. Little by little, add in the butter and mix well.

Drain the raisins and the chick peas and mix them in with the couscous. Return the mixture to the steamer for 30 more minutes.

In a saucepan, mix in the cayenne pepper, caraway seeds, quatre epices, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the tomato paste and stock and heat for a few minutes.

Separate the couscous grains before serving, serve the sauce in a separate bowl.

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