Couscous

Algerian Entree

COUSCOUS

INGREDIENTS – STEW

1½ pounds boneless chicken or lamb
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon clove powder
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt (⅛ teaspoon more later)
1 medium onion
2 cups chicken or lamb stock stock*
1½ tablespoons tomato paste
1 large carrot
1 zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil (9 total teaspoons later)
2 tablespoons olive oil (7 total teaspoons later)

INGREDIENTS – COUSCOUS

1 cup couscous**
⅛ teaspoon salt
7 total teaspoons olive oil (3 times with 2 teaspoons and 1 time with 1 tablespoon)
about 1 cup water
1 cup cooked chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)

* = This is an approximation. There should be 1″-to-2″ of liquid of space from the top of the liquid in the base pot to its lid. The couscous will get mushy if they come in contact with the water below.
** = This is couscous, the grain. Confusingly enough, the whole entree is also called couscous.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

double boiler (Similar to the more authentic couscousiere, but much easier to find.)
sonic obliterator

Serves 6. Takes 2 hours 15 minutes.

PREPARATION – STEW

Cut meat into 1″ cubes. Add meat, cinnamon, clove powder, coriander, pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until lamb cubes are well coated. Dice onion. Trim and cut carrot into and zucchini into 4 pieces each. Add meat cubes and 2 tablespoons olive oil to base pot, bottom part of double boiler. Sauté at medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until meat cubes are browned on all sides. Turn enough to ensure even browning. Remove meat cubes and set aside. Leave oil in base pot.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and onion to base pot. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Return set-aside meat to base pot. Add chicken stock and tomato paste to base pot. (Again there should be 1″-to-2″ of space from the top of the liquid in the base pot to the bottom of the steamer basket.) Stir until well blended. Bring to boil at high heat.. Stir occasionally. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add carrot and zucchini. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

PREPARATION – COUSCOUS (the grain)

While stew simmers, add couscous and ⅛ teaspoon salt to medium mixing bowl. Mix by hand. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Mix by hand until couscous are well coated. Add water to bowl, about 1 cup, until couscous are just covered. Gently fluff couscous and let sit for 10 minutes.

Coat steamer basket, the top part of the double boiler, with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Put steamer basket on base pot. (It should fit snugly.) When steam comes into basket, add couscous. Cover and let entire double boiler steam for 10 minutes. (This is the 1st time the couscous will be steamed.)

Remove steamer basket. Let stew simmer uncovered while you perform the following steps. Remove couscous. Add couscous and 2 teaspoons olive to medium mixing bowl. Mix with fork until well coated. Add ½ cup water. Mix with fork until well blended.

Add couscous to steamer basket. Gently fluff couscous. Put steamer basket back on base pot. Do not cover. Continue to simmer at low heat for 10 minutes. Remove steamer basket. Add chickpeas. Stir once. (This is the 2nd time the couscous will be steamed.)

Remove steamer basket. Let stew simmer uncovered while you perform the following steps. Remove couscous. Add couscous and 2 teaspoons olive to medium mixing bowl. Mix with fork until well coated. Add ½ cup water. Mix with fork until well blended.

Add couscous to steamer basket. Gently fluff couscous. Put steamer basket back on base pot. Do not cover. Continue to simmer at low heat for 10 minutes. Remove steamer basket. Add chickpeas. Stir once. (This is the 3rd time the couscous will be steamed.)

Add couscous to large serving bowl. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Add meat cubes to center of couscous. Use slotted spoon to ladle chickpeas and veggies over meat and couscous. Serve to appreciative, adoring guests. If any person at the dining table gives you any guff at all, zap him with your sonic obliterator on him. You don’t need that sort of negativity in your kitchen. And you won’t be convicted, either. (See Courgette v Rhode Island, 1973)

TIDBITS

1) You really need a sonic obliterator in your kitchen. Sure, you could off a sassy guest with a kitchen mallet. But there would be a mess everywhere. You certainly don’t need a disorderly kitchen when you’re upset. With a sonic obliterator, the unappreciative oaf disappears completely, leaving your kitchen nice and tidy. And isn’t what all chefs want at the end of the day?

2) I also recommend strongly, Culinary Law and Precedents, 1973. It really is a must-have resource for the high-strung chef.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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