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Couscous Oranais
(Western Algeria)

2 lbs. dry couscous grains
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 lbs. lamb, cut in pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, quartered
pinch of saffron
salt to taste
2 potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 zucchini, halved lengthwise
4 carrots, halved lengthwise
1/2 bunch celery with stalks chopped in thirds
1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled for one hour
handful of raisins, washed
3 oz. butter
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks

Wash the couscous.

Heat the oil in the lower half of the couscousier. Add the lamb
and onions and brown them for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt
and pepper to taste and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add
water to cover, bring to the boil, then add the potatoes, zucchini,
carrots, celery and chickpeas. Reduce heat to a simmer.

Put the couscous in the top half of the couscousier, place it atop
the stock pot and seal. Allow to steam for half an hour after
vapor begins to rise from the whole surface of the couscous.

Remove from heat, remove the top half of the couscousier and pour
the couscous into the gsaa. Break up any clumps. Cool, sprinkle
lightly with cold water and allow the couscous to air. Rake the
couscous and sprinkle again with water until the grains are swollen
and saturated. Leave the grains to absorb all the moisture.

Check the seasoning of the stock and add water if needed. Return
the pot to moderate heat. Put the couscous in the top half of the
couscousier, place it on the lower pot and again seal the two
halves. Sprinkle the raisins over the top of the couscous, then
cover with a cloth napkin, which will trap the steam and help the
raisins to swell.

Steam the couscous for roughly 20 minutes more, then put the hot
couscous and raisins into the gsaa, add the butter and mix well,
coating the grains. Add the cinnamon sticks and saffron to the
simmering stock 5-10 minutes before serving. Heap the couscous in
a large bowl or platter, forming a mound with a well in the middle.
Place the lamb and vegetables in the well, spoon on as much stock
as the couscous will absorb and serve with a bowl of extra stock
on the side.


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