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Couscous takes over French Favourites a Recipe

Forget magret de canard and moules fritescouscous served with its savoury slow-cooked stews is popular in French cuisine. It was voted France’s 3rd favourite meal in a study conducted for Vie Pratique Gourmand (2011).  There are references to couscous consumption in France that date as far back as 1630 (Toulon) and 1699 (Brittany).

This North African staple first emerged from Morocco in the 13th century. Traditional couscous is made from a base of semolina grains that are steamed. Once cooked, couscous is typically served with either meat or fish and a warm vegetable broth on a shallow communal platter called a gsaa. In some countries, chutney, chickpeas and harissa may accompany the couscous.

Lamb Chicken Couscous Recipe

Couscous with Lamb and Chicken

This recipe is a traditional preparation and presentation for couscous. The recipe comes from a Provencal friend in France who lived in Algeria for a period of time.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 6 people


  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 pieces Lamb Collar including the bone, neck
  • 6 Chicken Thighs including the skin
  • 1/3 cup Tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic 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


  • 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.
  • Add tomato paste, chopped onion, garlic and spices to the pan; allow the spices to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Then add the water and turn up the heat until the water boils.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes.
  • Return the chicken to the stockpot.
  • Add the carrots and turnip and cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Taste the sauce at this stage and adjust the spices if necessary.
  • Add the chopped zucchini, peppers and cabbage.
  • Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the artichokes and chickpeas and salt to suit your taste.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer, until your couscous is ready.
  • Prepare the couscous according to the package instructions.
  • Serve the couscous on a large platter surrounded by the meat and vegetables.
  • With a large slotted spoon remove the meat and vegetables and arrange around a central mound of couscous.
  • Strain the remaining liquid from the pot and serve in a bowl alongside your meal.
  • Serve the harissa on the side.


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.
This recipe was previously published in the City Palate Magazine March/April 2014
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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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