This light and fluffy couscous recipe is complemented beautifully by the sweet and aromatic Onion and Raisin Confit. An ideal side or grain dish.

Couscous with Onion and Raisin Confit
Recipe type: Beef
Serves: 8
  • 2 1/2 pounds onions
  • 10 Cups water
  • 2 pounds beef shank meat
  • 2 beef soup bones
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 teaspoons salt; divided
  • 5 Tablespoons oil; divided
  • 1 Cup whole blanched almonds; fried or toasted
  • 1/4 Cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon; more for garnish
  • 3/4 Cup raisins
  • 2 Cups couscous
  • 1 Tablespoon orange blossom water; or to taste (sold at Middle Eastern markets)
  • powdered sugar; for garnish
  1. Quarter 2 of the onions. Combine the water, beef, beef bones, the quartered onions, the peppercorns and cinnamon stick in a stock pot or large soup pot. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. With a slotted spoon, skim off the foam. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook until the beef is tender and the broth is fully flavored, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Season with 2 teaspoons of the salt. Strain. Reserve the meat and refrigerate for another use. Refrigerate the broth 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Remove and discard the fat. Bring the broth to a boil, and reduce by one-fourth. This should take about 30 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the almonds, shaking the pan occasionally, until light gold, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Plump the raisins in warm water for 15 minutes; drain and dry them.
  5. Slice the remaining onions and add them to the same skillet with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the broth. Cover and cook until the onions turn soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of salt. Partially cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions acquire a deep caramel color, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Add the raisins and heat. Set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Bring 2 1/4 Cups of the broth, the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil and the remaining teaspoon of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat. Add the couscous in a stream. Stir once. Cover, and set aside until the couscous is tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. Reheat 2 Cups of the reserved beef broth. Combine 1/2 Cup of the broth with the orange blossom water and mix with the couscous. Mound the couscous on a warm serving platter. Spoon the onion mixture around the base. Garnish with spokes of fried almonds. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and a pinch or two of cinnamon. Serve with the remaining broth on the side.
This recipe yields 8 servings.

Each serving: 537 calories; 1,231 mg sodium; 52 mg cholesterol; 33 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 41 grams carbohydrates; 21 grams protein; 5.59 grams fiber.

NOTES : Kitty Morse is the author of "The Scent of Orange Blossoms: Sephardic Cuisine From Morocco" (Ten Speed Press, 2001)

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