Here is a recipe for traditional Moroccan
couscous. Actually, it's passed through two generation
s of Northern French
so perhaps it ain't as traditional
as I like to think (the leek
s especially are quite suspicious). On the other hand, this is pretty much the dish
you'd get if you asked for "couscous" in a North African restaurant in France
. It's what my grandmother
used to make, along with her famous pastries and crepes, when her grandchild
ren would visit from Australia
This recipe assumes there will be 4 to 12 diners. The exact quantity of those ingredients which are not "per person" is pretty flexible, so just modify the recipe to taste. If you hate turnips, then leave them out or substitute somethng else.
Couscous is the kind of meal to make for a large dinner party with guests who appreciate good food. Much red wine should accompany the couscous.
Ingredients and Utensils
You will also need:
- Brown the meat in olive oil and salt it well (ie. rub salt all over it). If you're having only Merguez, then grill/fry your sausages.
- Add all the vegetables, the chickpeas and the onions, as well as the herbs and spices (exept the Harissa).
- Fill pot to 3/4 full of cold water and cook for at least two to three hours.
Ideally, you should soak the chickpeas for at least six hours prior to the cooking. If not, place them in cold water and boil for five minutes.
There are two main ways of preparing the grain for consumption. The first presumes that you don't own a couscousière, but the method would be pretty much the same if you did, just easier. Semolina should be prepared immediately prior to serving.
- Place the grain in a large tea-towel and soak for two minutes in salty lukewarm water, then place the cloth in a metal colander and let it drain for twenty minutes.
- Mix in 2 or 3 tbs of olive oil and a pinch of salt, then place the colander over either the couscous or a pot of boiling water.
- Let steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Fluff and separate the grains using a fork.
The second method in my opinion produces a more flavoursome grain, with less chance of oversaturation.
- Bring water with a few teaspoons of butter and a pich of salt to the boil, then remove from heat.
- Stir in an equal amount of semolina (eg: 250ml water = 250g grain), cover and allow to swell for two minutes.
- Add the same amount of butter again and return to low heat for three minutes, all the while fluffing it and using a fork to separate the grains.
Always served piping hot. Red wine is the best drink to consume with couscous, though this is hardly what they would do in Morocco - quite possibly mint tea is the preferred accompaniment.
If you used the traditional method for the semolina, it is best to leave it in its teatowel (after it has been fluffed, of course) so that heat can be retained. Or, put it in a large salad bowl and cover it. Either way, add a knob of butter on top as you unveil it for all to see.
Each person serves themselves both the grain and the couscous. Traditionally, the harrissa is diluted in the ladle by each individual diner along with some broth and poured onto the cousocus. Alternately, a separate dish may be provided for this purpose, similar to the soy dish when one eats sushi.