This Moroccan speciality is a national dish appreciated by everyone, it is often prepared on Fridays for the family reunion and shared with neighbours. It is also carried out during both happy and tragic events.
In this recipe I’m going to explain the most famous and traditional cuscus recipe, with vegetables and lamb meat. A recipe that is not very complicated but requires a lot of organization and rigour. After a few cuscus, you will become a Pro of this dish. It’s always been my favorite since my childhood, I hope you like it.
To make a Moroccan-style cuscus 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 couscous semolina in the steam cooker. The semolina is better prepared in this way, it is more digestible and light without forgetting that it reveals good flavours brought by the broth. To do this, use “medium” cuckoo couscous semolina that has not been pre-cooked. You can find them in grocery stores or oriental butcher shops. If not, use pre-cooked semolina but reduce the steaming time from 4 to 2 steps (see below).
– Do not mix meats, choose a single variety. The most common with this recipe is veal (shank…), Chicken is very suitable as well as lamb (rib, shoulder…), but when you choose one stick to it.
– Use fresh vegetables that you can will prepare yourself. It depends on your taste and the season, it is up to you 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. But here we are going to explain the ones that compound the traditional 7-vegetables.
– Do not overuse spices, cuscus is a matter of vegetables and meat, only these ingredients give a very good taste. Only Rass El hanout, saffron, pepper and ground ginger are tolerated as spices for vegetable couscous. As for the cuscus with raisins or other sweet ingredients, cinnamon can be added. Do not put garlic on it.
– Respect the cooking time of each ingredient, if you think you won’t have time to wait for each ingredient to be cooked correctly, drop it and do it another day.
– Taste in the same dish, it is a friendly dish, do not take away its charm.
So here is my recipe for couscous with 7 vegetables.
For 6 people
Count widely 2 hours of time
For the broth:
1.5 kg of sheep shoulder
2 white onions
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
A large glass of dried chickpeas
4 tbsp. neutral oil
Spices: 1 tsp full of Rass el Hanout, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp saffron pistils, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 cube of Knorr broth, and salt.
Vegetables: 4 large carrots, 2 courgettes, 4 turnips, 2 potatoes or sweet potatoes, 1 piece of pumpkin. And if you want to vary: white cabbage, pepper, eggplant (beware, it colours the sauce), 1 to 2 tomatoes…
About 4 L of water
For the couscous semolina:
1 kg of average cuscus
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 glass of water at room temperature
Smen (special rancid butter, if available)
Preparation of the broth:
Put the oil in the cuscusier pot, heat and then add the meat cut into large pieces. Stir in the two onions cut into large slices, parsley bouquet, spices and mix. Sear a few moments, the meat must be lightly browned but not too much.
Depending on which kind of chickpeas you are using, you incorporate them now or later. If the chickpeas are dry you should have soaked them the day before in warm tap water the night before, and now would be the time to incorporate them into the broth. If you are using pot chickpeas, you should wait until the end, I will tell you the moment to introduce them.
Mix, then sprinkle with water, generously covering all the meat. Cover and cook until the vegetables and semolina are ready.
Meanwhile, clean and peel the vegetables, cut them into large pieces.
For example: carrot and courgette once widthwise and once lengthwise. The potato and turnip in four lengthwise, leave the beans to stand, cut the pumpkin into medium pieces, cut the cabbage into large wedges (add it first)…
As soon as the meat is half melted and comes off the bone. Add the turnip and carrot, count 15 minutes then add the rest of the vegetables, count a cooking time of 15 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Tip: Do not mix your broth, let it cook in this way, making sure that there is plenty of broth to cover the meat and vegetables even at the end of cooking. The meat must be very melt-in-the-mouth, well-cooked. Vegetables must also be processed without turning them into puree.
Preparation of couscous semolina:
In a very large salad bowl (here in bamboo), put the cuscus, salt and a good drizzle of olive oil. Mix with fingers to coat the seeds. Sprinkle with little water little by little while mixing it.
The couscous is hydrated in this way, otherwise it would be dry and would not cook. The seeds detach, roll and have a wet effect.
Then place the couscous semolina in the top of the heated couscous maker on the broth.
Bind the two parts of the couscous maker with with 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 dipped in a flour and water-based dough. It will allow the two utensils to be smoothed without letting the steam escape. You can opt for a simpler method that consists of rolling a plastic bag into a strand, then binding the two utensils by attaching the bag.
After a few minutes of cooking (about 15 min), remove the couscous and place it in a large dish.
Sprinkle with a little water and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands to aerate the seeds. Be careful, it’s very hot!
Tip: You don’t need to put a lot of water, just what you need, i.e. small handles by small handles. Roll the seed well or you may get dough balls. If so, throw away these small balls that will never come off. Put back in the top of the cuscusier and repeat the operation 3 to 5 times after 15 to 20 minutes, as soon as the cuckoo clocks are cooked.
For the dressing:
Form a dome with the cuscus in a large hollow dish. Make a well in the center. Sprinkle 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 courgette, a potato… Finish with the pumpkin and chickpeas. Sprinkle again with broth. Place the remaining broth in a bowl to serve at the table. Serve immediately.
Hope you enjoy your moroccan cuscus!! Let us know your opinion about this recipe.