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Fruity meat stew with couscous FRUITY MEAT STEW WITH COUSCOUS
about 1000 - 1200 g lamb, mutton or beef  —  see instructions below
about 2 - 3 marrowbone slices (beef)
1 large onion
a few garlic cloves or 1 single clove garlic
about 12 - 15 whole, pitted, dried dates
currants
sultanas
pinch of saffron
powdered ginger
powdered Seville orange peel
allspice
white pepper
salt
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
green cardamom pods
(coriander seeds)
about 300 ml chicken stock
honey
(dash of vinegar or lemon juice)
scalded almonds
pine kernels
(chopped flat-leaf parsley, coriander and/or mint)
couscous:
160 g (medium) couscous grains
2 dl water
pinch of salt
1 tbsp oil or clarified butter
knobs of butter

You can use either bony pieces of meat (neck, shoulder) or lean meat, like various roasts (knuckle roast, bottom round or top round roast). Meat with bone gives more flavour to the stew, but requires longer cooking time.

Rinse the marrowbone slices under cold water and place in a large oven pan or a casserole dish. Cut the meat in smaller, yet chunky pieces and brown them briefly in a skillet, using a little oil or butter. Add the meat pieces in the oven pan. Rinse the skillet with a dash of the chicken stock and pour in the oven pan.

Peel the onion, cut in half lengthwise and cut in smaller chunks. Chop the peeled garlic. Brown the onions lightly in the skillet with some oil or butter. Pour onions in the oven pan.

Rinse the sultanas and currants thoroughly with water and add to the oven pan together with the dates. Add the powdered spices, saffron and bay leaves and grind some allspice and white pepper on top.

Sauté the cinnamon stick and lightly crushed cardamom pods (together with coriander seeds, if using them) in hot oil, and pour in the oven pan. Add the rest of the chicken stock and drizzle honey on top. (Add some vinegar or lemon juice to give a bit of acidity to the stew.)

Cover the pan with lid or foil and bake at 150 - 175 °C until the meat is tender. Depending on the type of meat used, this may take about two to five hours.

Towards the end of the cooking time, remove the lid from the pan and sprinkle the almonds and pine kernels on top. Continue baking, uncovered, until the meat is tender and the almonds and pine kernels are nicely browned.

Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Pour the grains in a shallow pan and top with the boiling hot water, seasoned with salt. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let stand for about 10 minutes, or follow the instructions on the couscous package.

Remove the plastic, drizzle the oil or clarified butter over the grains and rub them between your hands, until they are loose. Arrange some knobs of butter evenly on top of couscous, cover with lid or foil and let simmer in the oven together with the meat stew for about 20 to 30 minutes. Using two forks, fluff up the couscous after the first 10 or 15 minutes of baking, adding some liquid from the meat stew to moisten and flavour it.

Spoon the couscous on serving plate(s) and top with the stew. (Sprinkle the chopped herbs on top.) In addition, serve some fresh tomato and cucumber salad and a good Arabic flatbread.

Recipe source: family recipe.


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