I love to be able to get, in Dallas, Texas, from the comfort of home, a first-hand look at what is going on in Lebanon through satellite channels. This morning, I was watching LBC (Lebanon Broadcast Channel); they have a cooking segment entitled Sofra daymeh and the Chef was demonstrating how to do a pumpkin couscous, Morroccan-style.
Now we do have our own type of couscous in Lebanon; its grains are bigger. and the spices used are always caraway and cumin and we call it moghrabiyeh, which means “from the Maghreb”; however it is not at all like the north-african couscous. Its grains are much bigger. In the US, they call it “israeli couscous” for some reason!
Today, this couscous is the one from Morocco. To get more detailed information, I consulted Paula Wolfert’s Couscous and other good food from Morocco, a book I bought decades ago. She describes this couscous as being ultra-refined and rustic at the same time. I liked the fact that you don’t need a zillion ingredients. Lamb, carrots, pumpkin, onion and raisins and chickpeas.
- 1 can cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 pound of couscous
- 1 1/2 pounds lamb shanks, cut up by the butcher into smaller pieces
- 2 large Spanish onions,sliced
- salt, black pepper, to taste
- Fresh ginger,grated(1 tablespoon)
- 2 pinches saffron
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 cup sweet butter, clarified till a bit nutty in taste (golden brown in color)
- 1 pound carrots, scraped and cut in 2-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 pounds pumpkin, peeled and cut in chunks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 pound black raisins
- Heat the butter in a large soup pot. Add the onions, sliced and the lamb shanks.
- Add the spices and brown the lamb shanks.
- Add 2 quarts of water. Boil then reduce the heat and simmer for one hour.
- Add the carrots, raisins and sugar to the pot and cook another 30 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin and chickpeas to the pot and cook another 30 minutes.
- Prepare the couscous, using package directions and a portion of the broth from the pot.
After browning the lamb and onions and adding the stock and spices and cooking the mix for one hour, I let it cool and resume the cooking the next day. That way, I can remove all the fat that has congealed on the surface. I will keep some for the couscous grain later, and usually discard the rest ( unless I needed it for another dish, in which case I freeze it)
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