I had promised you my couscous recipe in stages, a recipe that is not very complicated but that requires a lot of organization and rigor. After a few couscous made, you will become a pro of this dish.
This Moroccan speciality is a national dish appreciated by everyone, it is often prepared on Fridays for the prayer of that day and shared between neighbours. It is also made for both happy and tragic events.
The couscous is also a dish consumed in North Africa by neighboring countries, each prepares it in its own way according to family recipes and the choice of ingredients. There is a wide variety of couscous: “Bidaoui” with 7 vegetables, with grapes and onion confit, chicken, lamb, green vegetables, K’dra, Khlii (dried salted meat), milk, “belboula” couscous (with barley semolina) … You are spoilt for choice.

To make a Moroccan-style cuckoo clock and thus have an authentic taste like there, it is important to respect certain rules:

– Use a Couscousier to cook the broth in the pot and the cuckoos semolina in the steamer. The semolina is better prepared this way, it is more digestible and lighter without forgetting that it reveals the good flavours brought by the broth.
– To do this, use “medium” cuckoos semolina that has not been pre-cooked. You can find it in grocery stores or oriental butcher’s shops. Otherwise, use pre-cooked semolina but reduce the time of its steaming by 4 to 2 steps (see below).
– Do Not Mix Meats, choose only one variety. Chicken is very suitable as well as lamb (mouse, shoulder…), veal (shank…)….. The couscous with fish is a Tunisian speciality, the couscous is not steamed but inflated sipmlement with the red broth spiced with Harissa.
– Use Fresh Vegetables that you will prepare yourself. It depends on your taste and the season, you are free to vary the pleasures. If you wish, you can prepare a couscous with the rest of the vegetables you have, the quantity of vegetables is also a matter of taste. Some people like couscous well garnished with vegetables while others only have the semolina and broth.
– Do Not Overuse Spices, couscous is a matter of meat and vegetables, only these ingredients give a very good taste. Only Rass El hanout, pepper, saffron, pepper and ground ginger are tolerated as spices for vegetable couscous. As for couscous with raisins or other sweets, cinnamon can be added. Garlic should not be added.
– Respect The Cooking Time of each ingredient, if you run out of time in front of you, drop it and do it another day.
– To taste in the same Dish, it is a convivial dish, do not take away its charm.

So here’s my recipe for couscous with seasonal vegetables.
For 6 people
Allow ample time for 2 hours

For the broth:
1.5 kg of mutton shoulder
2 white onions
1 small bunch of flat parsley
A large glass of dried chickpeas
4 tablespoons neutral oil
Spices: 1 teaspoon full of Rass el Hanout, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon saffron pistils, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, a Knorr type stock cube, a very sweet chilli pepper like a small green pepper called “hot pepper” and salt.
Vegetables: 4 large carrots, 2 zucchini, 4 turnips, 2 potatoes or sweet potatoes, 1 piece of pumpkin, beans. And if you want to vary : white cabbage, pepper, eggplant (be careful it colours the sauce), 1 to 2 tomatoes …
About 4 L of water

For the couscous semolina:
1 kg of medium couscous
2 to 4 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 glass of water at room temperature
Smen (special rancid butter)

Preparing The broth :
Put the oil in the couscousier pot, heat and then add the meat cut into large pieces.
Stir in the two onions cut into large strips, the bunch of parsley, the spices and mix. Seize for a few moments, the meat should colour slightly but not too much, unlike the tagine.

Add the chickpeas and hot pepper.

“Tip: I soak the chickpeas the night before in warm tap water about one night. The next day I drain them and put them in a large bag and put them in the freezer until needed. It doesn’t spoil the taste and it’s so convenient.”

Mix, then sprinkle with water, covering all the meat generously. Cover and leave to cook while preparing the vegetables and semolina.
Meanwhile, clean and peel the vegetables and cut them into large pieces.
For example: carrot and zucchini once widthwise and then once lengthwise. The potato and turnip in four lengthwise, leave the beans in the same way, cut the pumpkin into medium pieces, cut the cabbage into large wedges (incorporate it first)…

As soon as the meat is half melting and detaches from the bone. Add the turnip and the carrot, count 15 minutes and then add the rest of the vegetables, count 15 minutes cooking time.

The pumpkin is cooked separately in a saucepan with a ladle of stock and a ladle of water.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.
“Tip: Do not mix your stock, leave it to cook this way, making sure that there is plenty of stock to cover the meat and vegetables even at the end of cooking.
The meat must be very melting, well cooked. Vegetables should also be well cooked without puréeing them.”
Preparation of The Couscous Semolina :
In a very large salad bowl (here in bamboo), put the couscous, salt and a good drizzle of olive oil.
Mix with your fingers (not your whole hand) to coat the seeds. Sprinkle with a little water little by little while mixing.

The couscous is hydrated in this way, otherwise it would be dry and would not cook.
The seeds detach, roll off and have a wet effect.

Then place the couscous semolina in the top of the previously heated couscous maker over the broth.
Sauté the two parts of the couscous maker using a gasket (I’m talking about it here) or, failing that, using a rolled plastic bag or a cloth.
You can either cover the couscous or leave it like this. For my part, I cover it to take full advantage of the rising steam.

“Tip: Prepare a damp cloth soaked in a paste made of flour and water. It will allow you to sauté the two utensils without letting the steam escape.
You can opt for a simpler method which consists of rolling a plastic bag into a sausage roll, then tie the two utensils together by tying the bag.”

After a few minutes of cooking (about 15 min), remove the couscous and place in a large dish (usually a Gasaâ, an earthenware dish, is used).
Sprinkle with a little water and stir with a wooden spoon or your hands to aerate the seeds. Beware it is very hot!
“Tip: You don’t have to put in a lot of water, just the right amount, i.e. small handfuls by small handfuls.  Roll the seed well, otherwise you risk getting dumplings. If this is the case, throw away these small dumplings which will no longer come off.”

Put it back in the top of the couscousier and repeat the operation 3 to 5 times after 15 to 20 minutes, as soon as the couscous is cooked. Do not hesitate to taste it. At the last stage, add 1/4 teaspoon of “Smen” or rancid butter to flavour and give a subtle taste.
“Tip: sprinkle your couscous with a small ladle of broth and mix, it will soak up all the flavours.”

For Dressage:
Dome the cuckoo clock in a large deep dish. Make a well in the center. Water all the couscous with broth, count about 3 good ladles.
Place the meat in the centre, decorate with vegetables in a homogeneous way: a carrot, a zucchini, a potato… Finish with the pumpkin and chickpeas. Baste again with stock. Place the remaining stock in a bowl to serve at the table.
Serve immediately, very hot. Serve with “Harissa“, fermented or curdled milk.
Couscous may be served with fresh grapes or chopped watermelon, this refreshes the palate as couscous is eaten very hot.

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