Couscous is known as ‘the North Africa national dish’. In Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya couscous is a staple.
The semolina is sprinkled with water and rolled with the hands to form small pellets, sprinkled with dry flour to keep them separate, and then sieved. Any pellets which are too small to be finished granules of couscous and fall through the sieve will be again rolled and sprinkled with dry semolina and rolled into pellets. This process continues until all the semolina has been formed into tiny granules of couscous. This process is very labor-intensive. In the traditional method of preparing couscous, groups of women would come together and make large batches over several days.
Thankfully we can buy pre-steamed and dried couscous at most markets.
In Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, couscous is generally served with vegetables (carrots, potatoes, squash, etc.) cooked in a spicy or mild roth or stew, and some meat (chicken, lamb or mutton).
This is a family recipe. I have modified the amount of butter and oil to bring it into an acceptable range for good health!
- 2 1/4 c. whole wheat couscous
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 c. seedless organic raisins
- 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2-1/4 c. boiling water
- 1/4 c. organic butter
- 1/4 c. virgin olive oil
- 2 white organic onions, finely chopped
- 2 lbs. organic grass-fed lamb, cut into bite size pieces
- 5 c. fresh organic tomato juice (can used organic canned
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 lb. organic squash or zucchini, quartered ( I use a mix of both)
- 1 lb. organic russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
Stuffed hot peppers (opt.)
- 1/2 lb. jalapeno peppers
- 1 c. chopped organic parsley
- 1/4 lb. ground organic, grass-fed beef
- 1 omega-3 egg
- salt and allspice
- 3 Tbs. coconut oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
Combine couscous, salt, cinnamon, raisins and olive oil in a bowl. Stir well to mix, add boiling water and stir again. Cover and set aside.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion until golden.
Add meat and stir until brown on all sides. Add tomato juice and seasoning, and cook covered over medium heat for 40 minutes.
Add vegetables. Cover with boiling water and simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are done.
To make the peppers:
In the meantime, heat a skillet over medium heat (no oil needed). Brown the ground beef, and add parsley. Break the egg over the meat and stir well. Add a dash of salt and 1/8 tsp. allspice. Stir and remove from heat.
Wash peppers, remove stem and seeds without breaking shell. Stuff them with beef mixture, and saute in the Coconut oil over medium heat until lightly browned.
Add to vegetables, cover and cook over low until vegetables are done and sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat. (Alternately, you may serve the peppers as a side dish).
Scoop couscous into a large bowl, making a well in the center. Spoon vegetables into the middle over couscous. Remaining vegetables are served in a separate bowl. You may also mound the couscous and decorate with the vegetables.
Traditional garnishes are chopped parsley and garbanzo beans.