Easy Couscous

Do you know what is a Couscous?

It is a very typical dish coming from North Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia. A family and comprehensive dish that is usually served for banquets and parties.

The name of dish comes from one of the main ingredient of it, couscous, wheat semolina. It gives the name of the whole dish that will include meats and vegetables all mixed in a stew.
It is a traditional and ancient cuisine, transmitted from mother to daughter, like a treasure. The North African countries have a wide and rich gastronomy, delicate flavours and refined dishes.

The traditional way to do it, is long and requires special utensils like the couscousière!

France has the privilege to find a lot of people coming from these countries, that offered and transmitted us also the pleasure and taste of Couscous!

I want to propose an easy and quick version that would let you enjoy this unique taste even without cooking knowledge!

Couscous is a sharing dish, so get the family together, invite friends! I will give ingredients for 6 persons:
- 2 courgettes/zucchini
- 3 big carrots
- 5 turnips
- 3 celery sticks
- 3 matured tomatoes or peeled tomatoes can
- 1 onion
- canned chick peas
- 4 chicken legs
- 5 merguez sausages
- 500 grs of lamb stew pieces
- 1 kg of Couscous
- Couscous spices mix: ras el hanout, paprika, cumin, coriander
- 50 grs of butter
- salt and pepper

First, we will prepare and cook the vegetables. We wash properly all vegetables. I recommend to buy organic ones, or peel all of them. Peel the vegetables is always a pity, as for most of them, the vitamins are concentrated in this part. If you can have your own harvest or can find organic products, it will be better.
Cut the courgettes into big chunks, the carrot, celery and turnips as well. Cut the onion in 4 pieces.
If it is the season, I would suggest to add some pumpkin,... it is really delicious!

Put all the vegetables in a big pan, cover with water and put it at medium-low heat for 45 min!

In the meanwhile, we will prepare the meats. I like when meats are grilled outside, so in a fried pan with a little bit of olive oil, we put  2 garlic cloves roughly sliced and the different pieces of meat and let it get brown to all sides at high heat. Add salt and pepper.
I grilled the merguez a part. They are usually very fat and have a special taste. I like them very dry and grilled. I will add them at the service not before.
When all the pieces are ready, we add the spices and the tomatoes and let it cook for 15 minutes covered and at lower heat. We will add the meats to the vegetables pan 15 more minutes. Finally, we will add the chick peas and let it 15 more minutes.

Do not hesitate to add some water during the cooking. I also recommend to take off the foam that can appear on the surface. This foam contains some impurities from the meats and vegetables and will not give any better taste.

After 1h30, we do have a very nice stew and wonderful broth! We will use this broth to cook the couscous and to prepare a side spicy sauce.
To cook the couscous it is really easy! In a bowl, put as much as glasses of couscous as guests. Put the same quantity of glasses of hot broth. Make sure the broth is enough salted, and adjust it if necessary. 
Cover the bowl and wait 5 minutes. 
After this time, the couscous is hardly ready! Spread some melted butter on the top, and gently, with a fork separate the couscous grains. This is the most delicate step, but it is also the most important. We do not like if the couscous is all sticky together! We want it light and fluffy.

Before serving, we are going to prepare the Harissa sauce, a special Tunisian chili paste. In a small bowl, we put a coffee spoon of harissa paste and we water down it with the broth.
Serve in one tray the meats and vegetables with the broth well presented. In another tray or bowl, the couscous. 

Enjoy and share it!

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