Couscous Royal

The perfect dish for a crowd, Couscous requires a little bit of planning if you want to make it tasty with a rich broth, the secret of this exquisite dish. It is important to cook the vegetables al dente and firm to the tooth. I cook the vegetables in stages, making sure you end up with a delicate, yet spicy dish. I use ras-el-hanout, a typical moroccan spice mix which includes cumin, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, allspice and cloves with wonderful results. Although it seems like a lot of work, if you use a pressure cooker, the entire dish can be prepared in less than an hour. Very often, you will find a piece of lamb in a Couscous royal or a combination of all 3 meats; lamb, chicken and Merguez. You can actually cook both chicken and lamb together, which will enhance the quality of your broth. A special dish for special occasions !

INGREDIENTS
6 bone-in skinless chicken thighs
1 Large onion cut in half and in thick slices
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 Pinch of Saffron
4 Carrots cut in thick sticks
1 Large Sweet Potato peeled and cut in thick sticks
2 Medium Size Potato peeled and cut in thick sticks
1 Zucchini sliced
1 Small can of tomatoes
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Ras El-Hanout
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Large Can of Chick peas
5 Cups of Chicken broth
Salt & Pepper to taste
Handful of fresh chopped parsley or coriander.

FOR THE COUSCOUS
3 Cups (750 ml) Water or Chicken Broth
1 Tablespoon Butter
3 Cups (600 gr) Couscous
1/4 Cup (35 gr) Raisins

PREPARATION
Start by preparing the broth, the star element in this dish. In a large pot, pour in the chicken broth with the can of tomatoes, the cumin, ras el-hanout, Cinnamon, Salt & Pepper to taste. I often use a pressure cooker to cook the chicken first. I also include the onions, carrots and garlic as they take longer to cook. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook the chicken for about 7 minutes, until tender.
But if you do not have a pressure cooker, simply put the chicken first with the carrots, onions and garlic and bring the broth to a medium boil and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until tender. The carrots and onions should still be a little firm to the tooth.
Add the other vegetables; sweet potatoes, potatoes, zucchini and chick peas along with a good pinch of saffron and cook for another 10-12 minutes, until tender.
Whilst you are cooking the last vegetables, you can saute the Merguez in a little bit of olive oil. I personally use a non-stick pan and cook them without anything, until they are brown on all sides.
Prepare the couscous by bringing 3 cups of water or chicken broth to ta boil. Remove from the heat and add the couscous and raisins. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and pour into a serving dish.

I usually serve both in large serving dishes and let the guests help themselves.
3 Cups of couscous seems like a lot, but if you have any leftovers, you can make a beautiful salad the following day.

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