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Couscous with Seven Vegetables In The Fez Manner

1 cup Dried chickpeas -- soaked and peeled
4 cups Couscous - (1 1/2 lbs)
4 Lamb shanks
1 stick Butter
4 tablespoons Vegetable oil
Salt -- to taste
1 tablespoon Freshly-ground black pepper
1 pinch Saffron
1/2 teaspoon Tumeric
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Cinnamon sticks
3 Onions -- quartered
6 Cilantro sprigs -- tied together with
6 Parsley sprigs
6 Ripe tomatoes -- peeled, seeded, and quartered
1 pound Carrots -- cut into 2" pieces
1 pound Small white turnips -- quartered
1 Quince -- peeled, cored, and cubed
1/2 pound Butternut squash -- peeled and cubed
1 pound Zucchini -- quartered
1 Fresh hot chili pepper
1 cup Raisins
Smen (aged butter) or butter

In a saucepan cover chickpeas with water and cook, covered, until tender. Drain, cool and remove skins. In bottom of a couscousi, pre heat 5 tablespoons of butter and oil over high heat until hot, add lamb, salt and spices, onions, herb sprigs and tomatoes and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add 3 quarts water and chickpeas and simmer, covered, 1 1/2 hours. Cut meat into chunks, discarding bones. Add carrots, turnips and quince to lamb broth and simmer 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan cover squash with broth from lamb stew and simmer until tender.

To lamb broth add zucchini, chili pepper, and raisins. Top with colander containing couscous, cover and steam 20 minutes. Dot couscous with remaining butter during last 5 minutes of steaming.

To serve, spoon couscous onto serving dish and toss with Smen or butter. Spread out to form a large well in center. With a slotted spoon transfer meat and vegetables into well. Add drained squash. Strain broth, correct seasoning and moisten couscous and vegetables with broth.

This recipe yields 8 to 10 servings.

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