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Couscous with Lamb, Honeyed Caramelized Onions, and Raisins

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Posted to Thread #24601 at 8:15 pm on Jul 1, 2013

Couscous with Lamb, Honeyed Caramelized Onions, and Raisins
Kesksou Tfaya
The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

Traca's note: One of my favorite cold weather dishes. I often substitute beef for the lamb.

Serves 6

The special feature of this dish is the exquisite mix of honeyed caramelized onions and raisins called tfaya which is served as a topping of the long-cooked, deliciously tender meat. The broth which moistens the grain is the meat broth. A sprinkling of fried or toasted almonds is an optional garnish.

4 cups couscous
4 cups warm water
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or extra oil

2 pounds lamb or beef, cut into large pieces
2 1/2 pounds onions
salt and pepper
3/4 - 1 teaspoon ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 cloves
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads or powder
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup raisins, soaked in water for 20 minutes
1 cup almonds

Prepare the couscous according to package directions (using the amounts listed above).

Prepare the meaty stew or soup. In a large pan, put the meat and about 1/2 pound of the onions, coarsely chopped, and cover with about 1 1/2 quarts water. Bring to the boil and remove the scum. Add salt, pepper, the ginger, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the cloves and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add the saffron and more water to keep the meat well covered (there should be a lot of broth) and simmer for 1/2 hour more. The meat should be so tender you can pull it apart with your hands.

For the honeyed onion (tyfaya), cut the remaining onions in half and slice them. Put them in a pan with about 1 cup water. Put the lid on and cook, covered, over low heat (they will steam) for about 1/2 hour, until the onions are very soft. Remove the lid and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Ass the butter and oil and cook until the onions are golden. Stir in the honey and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, the drained raisins, and a pinch of salt and cook 10 minutes more, or until the onions caramelize and become quite brown.

Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan or fry them in a drop of oil until golden, turning them over. Coarsely chop about half of them.

To serve, make a mound of couscous and make a hollow in the center. Moisten with a ladle of meat broth. Put the meat in the hollow and cover with the onion-and-raisin tfaya.

Sprinkle with a mixture of chopped and whole toasted or fried blanched almonds.


You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do
something about its depth. - M


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