Original Joy of Cooking Recipe

6 servings

As with most basic native dishes, variations of this North African specialty abound. The following version comes from friends in Libya.

Soak overnight and cook the following day until half tender:

1 cup chick peas
Drain them. Cut into about 10 pieces:
2 lbs lamb, mutton or beef
Brown lightly in:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
While browning slowly for about 10 minutes, add:
3/4 cup minced onion
When the onion is translucent, add:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Reduce heat and barely simmer this thick mixture for about 10 minutes more. Place in a heavy pot with:
2 knuckle bones
and enough:
water to cover
Simmer covered until the meat can be pierced with a fork, but still offers slight resistance. Add:
3 cups potatoes, cut Parisienne
2 cups coarsely diced yellow or white squash
2 cups coarsely diced zucchini
and the drained cooked chick peas. Add, if necessary:
Simmer covered until the meat and vegetables are tender, about 3/4 of an hour longer. Remove from heat and reserve this meat and vegetable mixture. When the fat rises to the top, skim and reserve 2 tablespoons of it. Rinse briefly and place in the top of a perforated steamer or a couscous pot:
1 lb. semolina, cracked millet, cracked wheat or kasha
Steam the cereal uncovered for 15 minutes, timing after you see steam rising from the top. Meanwhile reheat the meat and vegetable mixture. Drain the liquid and reserve it. Now working quickly so everything stays warm, remove the cereal from the steamer and add:
2 tablespoons orange flower water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Toss the seasoned couscous lightly in the 2 tablespoons of fat reserved from the meat mixture, and put it in a serving dish. Pour over it 1 cup of the drained liquid. Put the meat, vegetables and chick peas on top of the couscous. Use the remaining liquid as a separate sauce. Serve at once.