4 cups small grain couscous
1 pound lamb such as neck, shoulder, breast or shank, cut into large cubes.
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons black pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste
3/4 cup salad oil
12 tablespoons butter at room temperature
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon leaf saffron, crushed
3 large, tender carrots, scraped and quartered
4 white turnips, peeled and quartered
3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 zucchini, unpeeled and quartered
1 20-ounce can peas and liquid (available at supermarkets)
1 cup seedless raisins
1. Place couscous in large bowl and add about two cups cold water. There should be just enough water to moisten the couscous thoroughly without making it soupy. Let the couscous stand one hour, mixing it with the hands occasionally to break up any lumps that may form.
2. A specialty designed couscous cooked called a couscoussier is ideal for this dish, but a colander snugly fitted into a kettle may be improvised. To the bottom section or the kettle add lamb, onions, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne, one half cup oil, four tablespoons butter and salt. Soak saffron briefly in a little warm water and add it. Add about two quarts of water. The level of the water should be about two inches above the level of the other ingredients. Place the steiger (or colander) on top of the couscoussier (or in the kettle) and bring to a boil.
3. Using the hands, mix couscous once more to break up any lumps. Line steamer with cheesecloth and add couscous. Cover and cook one hour, making sure the couscous is steaming properly.
4. Remove steamer and run cold water over couscous for three minutes. Set aside to drain.
5. To the stew in the bottom of the couscoussier add the carrots, turnips, and potatoes and cook, covered, 20 minutes.
6. Pour couscous into a large bowl, and add remaining oil and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly by hand until all the grains are coated.
7. Add zucchini, peas, and raisins to the stew. Place the steamer on top once more and continue cooking and steaming twenty minutes.
8. Pour couscous into a warm bowl and add remaining butter. Stir with a kitchen spoon while piping hot until well blended. To serve, heap couscous into a hot, shallow round plate, make a well in the center and fill with drained vegetable. The lamb pieces may be removed and discarded or served separately.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Note: The best couscous is made by hand. Take finely ground semolina and rub between palms with a little water to make small pellets which are dried. It can also be bought however make by a machine.