We in the United States don’t often consider putting fruit in savory dishes, but adding dried fruit to salads and stews is de rigueur for Moroccans. Feel free to try this recipe twice, once with lamb or beef, and once again with chicken. Experiment; see which flavors you like best!
- 9 pints water
- 2 lbs uncooked couscous
- 2 lbs of beef or lamb, cut into cubes OR a 2 lb chicken, cut up
- 1 lb unsweetened raisins
- 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
- 3 lbs onions
- 1 tablespoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron
- 9 ounces butter, separated
- Salt to taste
- Put water in a large saucepan and add 2 sliced onions, the chickpeas, the meat or chicken, salt, pepper, saffron, and 5 ounces of butter. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Put couscous in a steamer basket and place over the boiling stock, ensuring a good seal between the steamer and the pot. (To ensure a good seal, soak a strip of cloth in a paste of water and flour, and place between the saucepan and steamer basket.) Cook until 30 minutes after the couscous has stopped steaming.
- Remove the couscous from the heat and reduce the heat under the saucepan to medium-low. Cover the saucepan and allow the ingredients to continue cooking, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, turn out couscous into a large bowl, and fluff with a wooden spoon to separate the grains. Let cool for a while, then sprinkle with cold water, air out, and repeat this process until the grains are swollen and saturated with water. Let sit until all the water is absorbed.
- Check to see if the chicken or meat is done, and remove from heat. Test the seasoning. Half an hour before serving, cut the remaining onions into large pieces and put them in the stock. Put the stock back on the heat, and add raisins. Bring to a boil, then put the couscous back into the steamer basket and place on top, once again ensuring a tight seal.
- When the couscous begins to steam, take off the heat and turn into the large bowl once again. Mix in the remaining butter and add as much stock as the couscous will absorb, stirring it all the while. When all the liquid is absorbed, heap the couscous into a conical shape onto the serving dish, and make a well in the middle. Carefully spoon the meat or chicken, along with the onions, chickpeas, and raisins into this well. If you have any stock remaining, serve it on the side.
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