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LOCATION: Recipes >> Middle Eastern >> Couscous 01

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Couscous

Spread 2 pounds of couscous on a tray and sprinkle with enough
water to moisten them. Rake through the couscous with your fingers
until all are moistened. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then rake
through them again. Continue sprinkling with water and rubbing
the pellets between your palms until all are saturated and have
doubled in size.

Drain 1 cup chick peas that have soaked in water overnight, and
simmer them in fresh water for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until they are
tender. Drain and setr aside. Cut up a chicken and a lamb shoulder
into large pieces. Chop an onion. Peel 4 carrots and 2 turnips
and cut them into large chunks. Rinse a bunch of coriander leaves.

Fill the bottom section of a couscoussier about halfway with cold
water and drop in the prepared meat, vegetables and coriander
leaves. Add a pinch each of ground saffron and cinnamon, and stir
in a teaspoon or two of harissa sauce.

Harissa sauce -- Soak a few dried hot chilies in cold water for an
hour. Split the chilies and remove the stems and seeds. Pound
in a mortar with 2 or 3 tablespoons of caraway seeds, a garlic
clove and some coarse salt until it forms a paste. Mix in enough
olive oil to make the paste fluid. Refrigerate.

Bring the water slowly to a boil; remove any scum from its surface
and cook the stew at a bare simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.
Heap the couscous lightly in the top section of the couscoussier.
Set the top section on the lower one and cover the couscoussier
with its lid.

Raise the heat so the liquid boils and produces steam to cook the
couscous. After about 30 minutes, the pellets will lump together.
To separate them, lift off the top section, leaving the stew to
cook in the bottom. Tip out the couscous onto a tray. Sprinkle
cold water over the couscous. Gently rake through pellet with your
fingers to break up any lumps. Set aside.

Peel and slice 1 pound of pumpkin into chunks. Cook them separately
as not to over cook them. Put the pumpkin chunks into a small pan
and cover them with liquid ladled from the stew. Set pan aside.

Broil 2 red bell peppers until the skins blister. Let cool, covered
by a damp cloth, then peel and seed them. Immerse 4 small tomatoes
in boiling water; peel halve and seed them. Cut 5 small zucchini
into large pieces. Add these vegetables to the stew.

Return the couscous to the top section of the couscoussier, replace
the top section on the lower one. Cook for 15 minutes, or until
the peppers and zucchini are tender and the couscous is soft and
fluffy. Meanwhile, simmer the pumpkin gently for 10 to 15 minutes
until tender.

To serve, pile the couscous on a serving platter, arrange the meat
and vegetables on top and around the couscous. Ladle broth over.
Serve with the rest of the broth and harissa sauce.

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