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North African Lamb & Cous Cous Stew

This is a recipe inspired by my readings of Greg Malouf’s work.
I would usually cook this in a pressure cooker, using about half the liquid specified, but I realise most people seem not to own pressure cookers, so I’ve written the recipe with a view to stovetop cooking. Cooking time for the pressure cooker is about 35 minutes, but for stovetop, 3 to 5 hours.

This is a hearty and filling stew equally suited to cold winter nights or summer afternoons (in the same way that hot tea is supposedly suited to tropical climates).

Typically I’d serve this stew with fresh turkish bread (sliced), Red Harissa or Hilbeh, “Tahini Yoghurt Dressing”: https://degroot.id.au/recipes/2006/03/07/tahini-yoghurt-dressing/ and plenty of water.


  • Lamb. This can be any cut really, neck chops, flap, those scrappy bits from a side of lamb. Quantity is variable, but four neck chops should be plenty for a family of five.
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large can of chickpeas (or equivalent of dried chickpeas soaked overnight)
  • 2 carrots, sliced coarsely but evenly.
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped.
  • 1/4 cup of green/brown lentils
  • 3/4 cup of red lentils
  • 4 cups of a weak beef or lamb stock
  • 1 can of Roma Tomatoes broken up (or about 5 or 6 fresh roma tomatoes chopped roughly)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of “Ras al Hanout”:https://degroot.id.au/recipes/2006/03/07/ras-al-hanout/ spice mix.
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 a preserved lemon
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of medium cous cous
  • optional – two bullet chillies, finely chopped


In a large pot, put the onion, lamb, carrots, garlic, green lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, chillies and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer and add the Ras al Hanout.
Cover and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Stir occasionally. The cooking time should be about 3 to 5 hours. About 3 hours in, add the preserved lemon.

If using a tagine, do not bring to boil, just place on low heat with all the above ingredients in the tagine, cover and leave to cook, stirring every half hour or so.
Sometime after this, but at least 25 minutes before you’re ready to serve, remove the bones from the stew and break up any large pieces of meat ( which if done should just fall apart anyway ).
About 25 minutes or so before you’re ready to serve, add the red lentils.
About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve add the lemon juice and cous cous stirring in well.
You’ll want to leave this uncovered for the last five minutes, increasing the heat slightly and stirring frequently.

Serve in ramkins or bowls with the suggested accompaniments mentioned in the opening paragraphs.


“Moorish – Flavours from Mecca to Marrakash”: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1876719982/davesrecipes-20
Authors: Greg and Lucy Malouf
ISBN: 1-876719-98-2
Published: “Hardie Grant Books”:http://www.hardiegrant.com.au/ , 2001

posted to Moorish,Recipes @ 11:07 pm

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