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Moroccan Baydawi Couscous Seven Vegetables

2 lbs. dry couscous grains
10 oz. butter
1 chicken or 2 lbs. lamb, cut in pieces
2 lbs. onions
1 medium white cabbage, chopped
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1 tablespoon black pepper
salt to taste
4 or 5 tomatoes
8 oz. eggplant, quartered
1 lb. pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 lb. carrots, peeled and quartered
8 oz. turnips, peeled and quartered
2 hot chile peppers, fresh
a handful of chopped green coriander (cilantro)
5 quarts water

Using three times their volume in water, wash the couscous grains
in a gsaa or large tray. (use a large, deep roasting pan as a
substitute.) Stir the grains in the water, then drain thoroughly
and return to the asaa. Spread out the damp couscous and leave
it for 20 minutes, allowing the grains to swell. Break up any
clumps by hand.

Melt half the butter in the lower half of the couscousier, add the
meat, two sliced onions, the cabbage chopped in pieces, the pepper
and a dash of salt. Brown the meat quickly, then add the water
and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a steady simmer.

Put the couscous grains in the upper half of the couscousier. Do
not pack them tightly, since steam must be able to rise through
the grains. Place the top pot on the lower one and seal them with
a strip of cloth steeped in a flour-and-water paste. Steam for a
half hour after the steam begins to rise from the entire surface
of the couscous.

Remove the top half of the couscousier and pour the couscous into
the gsaa. Press lightly with the back of a spoon or ladle to break
up clumps and separate the grains. Leave to 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.

Meanwhile, about an hour before serving, place in the simmering
stock the whole tomatoes, the remaining onions, chopped coarsely,
the eggplant, pumpkin, carrots and turnips, the whole hot chiles,
the saffron and the green coriander.

Check the seasoning and, half an hour before serving, return the
couscous grains to the top of the couscousier and replace on top
of the stock pot, sealing the two as before. Steam will begin to
rise through the couscous.

Just before serving, turn the couscous into the gsaa, add the
remaining butter and mix well to coat the grains. Pour on as much
of the stock as the couscous will absorb while stirring, then pile
the couscous on a large serving dish or platter, forming a mound
with a well in the middle. Ladle the meat and vegetables into the
hollow and serve at once with a bowl of extra stock for those who
prefer their couscous extra moist.


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