Recipe for Couscous


2/3 cup dried chickpeas
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 lb lean, boneless lamb shoulder
1/2 cup chopped white onions
5 cup boiling water
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup ripe tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoon crushed dried mint
1 teaspoon (scant) salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 medium-sized carrots
3 small turnips
2 cup couscous
3 small zucchini
2 italian sweet peppers


1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in four times their volume of water in a noncorrisble bowl.

2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed 5- to 7-quart pot.

3. Cut the lamb into 1-inch cubes. Brown them (in batches, if necessary) on all sides over moderate heat. Transfer the meat to a warm platter.

4. Reduce the temperature to low and saute the onions for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

5. Add the lamb, boiling water, lemon juice, tomatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaf, mint, salt, and pepper. Stir, cover, and simmer the mixture vfor 20 minutes.

6. Drain the chickpeas and stir them into the lamb mixture. Simmer the ingredients, covered, for 45 minutes.

7. Begin this step 5 minutes before step 6 is completed. Peel the carrots and turnips. Cut the carrots into 3/4-inch long segments and the turnips into 3/4-inch cubes. When step 6 is completed, stir these ingredients into the pot containing the lamb. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

8. Begin this step as soon as the carrots and turnips start simmering in step 7. Put the couscous pellets in a 2- to 3-quart pan. Pour cold tap water into the pan until it reaches a depth of 1 inch above the pellets. Soak the pellets for 10 minutes.

9. Pour the couscous into a sieve, discarding the water. Return the couscous to its soaking pan. Slowly strain two cups of the broth from the large pot into the couscous. Bring this mixture to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 5 minutes over low heat.

10. Slice the zucchini into 3-inch cuves and the peppers into 1/4 inch-thick rings. When step 7 is completed, stir in both ingredients and simmer the mixture, covered, for 10 minutes.

11. It should be time to turn off the heat under the simmering couscous pellets as soon as the zucchini-and-pepper mixture starts simmering in step 10. Fluff the pellets, cover the pan, and let it stand for 8 minutes. Then pour off any remaining liquid.

12. Mound the couscous pellets in the center of a warm, large serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and vegetables from the pot and neatly arrange them around the mound.

Serves 6 to 8.

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