Couscous a Traditional Moroccan Recipe

Ras El Hanout is a spice blend essential to Moroccan cooking and critical for a traditional couscous recipe. The name translated literally means ‘head of the shop’ for which actual mixtures vary, and in some cases, maybe closely guarded family secrets. A less direct translation is ‘best of the shop’ a savoury combination of as many as 60 spices, ground and mixed together. These are typically found in every ras el hanout; anise, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, mace, nutmeg, ginger, black and white peppers, and turmeric.

Aix Market Pottery, Traditional Moroccan Couscous #Couscous #Recipe

In case you missed Nutmeg’s previous post on the background of couscous you can read it here.

Couscous #Couscous #Recipe @GingerandNutmeg

Couscous #Couscous #Recipe #Vegetarian @GingerandNutmeg

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Couscous with Lamb and Chicken
Cuisine: Moroccan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
This recipe is a traditional preparation and presentation for couscous. The recipe comes from a friend in France who lived in Algeria for a period of time.
Note: Prepare your couscous following the instructions on the package for four people. Including boiling the water, the preparation time for it is typically no more than 10 minutes; you should plan to make the couscous right before serving.
Note: This recipe was previously published in the City Palate Magazine March/April 2014
  • 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 pieces of lamb collar (neck), including the bone
  • 6 chicken thighs, including the skin
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin, ground
  • 1 Tbsp. ras el hanout, a Moroccan spice blend
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 turnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 zucchinis, diced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small Napa cabbage or regular cabbage, chopped
  • 6 canned artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup chickpeas from a can or bottle, drained
  • 2-3 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. harissa, from a can, mixed with a little water
  • 1 package instant couscous
  1. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil on medium and brown all the meat slightly. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.
  2. Add tomato paste, chopped onion, garlic and spices to the pan; allow the spices to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Then add the water and turn up the heat until the water boils.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot.
  5. Cook for about 15 minutes.
  6. Return the chicken to the stockpot.
  7. Add the carrots and turnip and cook for another 15 minutes.
  8. Taste the sauce at this stage and adjust the spices if necessary.
  9. Add the chopped zucchini, peppers and cabbage.
  10. Cook for 5 minutes.
  11. Add the artichokes and chickpeas and salt to suit your taste.
  12. Reduce heat to low and simmer, until your couscous is ready.
  13. Prepare the couscous according to the package instructions.
  14. Serve the couscous on a large platter surrounded by the meat and vegetables.
  15. With a large slotted spoon remove the meat and vegetables and arrange around a central mound of couscous.
  16. Strain the remaining liquid from the pot and serve in a bowl alongside your meal.
  17. Serve the harissa on the side.



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