Couscous Royale (Couscous with Grilled Meats)


A plate of fluffy couscous is lavished with meatballs, lamb chops, chicken skewers, merguez sausage, and a saffron-scented chickpea stew in this celebratory dish, a staple at Moroccan restaurants in Paris. This recipe first appeared in our November 2012 issue along with Jay Cheshes's story Couscous Royale.


For the Lamb Stew

  • 13 cup olive oil
  • 12 oz. boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cup flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4"-thick slices
  • 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 small red Holland chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium white turnip, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1" pieces
  • 12 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 12 tsp. ground ginger
  • 14 tsp. crushed saffron threads
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained
  • 1 (15-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, in juice, crushed by hand
  • 1 small head cabbage, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced

For the Couscous and Mixed Grill

  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 3 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro, minced
  • 1 egg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" x 2" pieces
  • 8 baby lamp chops
  • 8 merguez sausages
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups fine-grain couscous
  • Harissa, for serving


Step 1

Make the stew: Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, season lamb with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, and cook, turning as needed, until browned all over, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a bowl; set aside. Add garlic, carrots, celery, chiles, onion, turnip, and zucchini to saucepan, and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Add raisins, tomato paste, paprika, ginger, saffron, cinnamon, and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Return lamb to pan along with stock, chickpeas, tomatoes, and cabbage, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until meat and chickpeas are very tender, about 2½ hours. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in parsley and juice; keep warm.

Step 2

Marinate the meat: Place ground lamb, 1½ tbsp. paprika, 1½ tbsp. cumin, half the garlic, onion, ¾ of the cilantro, egg, and salt and pepper in a bowl, and mix until evenly combined. Divide mixture into 12 oval balls, about 1 oz. each, and place 3 balls each on 8" wooden skewers; place skewers on a plate and refrigerate until ready to grill. Place remaining paprika, cumin, garlic, and cilantro in a bowl, add chicken and lamb chops, and season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Step 3

Make the couscous: Bring butter, oil, and 6 cups water to a boil over high heat. Stir in couscous, season with salt and pepper, and cover; remove from the heat, and let sit until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork; set aside in a warm place.

Step 4

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat.) Remove chicken from marinade, divide and thread among 4 more wooden skewers, and working in batches, add to grill; cook, turning once, until charred in spots and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and repeat with lamb skewers, lamb chops, and sausages, about 16 minutes for the lamb skewers, about 7 minutes for lamb chops, and about 18 minutes for sausages. Serve stew, couscous, and grilled meats together on the table with harissa on the side.

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