Three 10-ounce packages couscous (about 4 1/4 cups)
3 3/4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of crumbled saffron threads
How to Make It
Pour the couscous into a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken stock with the vegetable oil, salt, white pepper, cumin, nutmeg and saffron. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Slowly pour the stock mixture over the couscous and stir gently to moisten the grains. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let stand for 10 minutes.
Gently rub the couscous between lightly oiled hands to aerate and separate the grains. Cover again and let stand, rubbing occasionally to break up any lumps, until the couscous has doubled in volume and the grains are light and fluffy, about 30 minutes. Rewarm the couscous in the bowl over a saucepan of streaming water before serving.
The cooked couscous can be refrigerated overnight. Rub the couscous to break up any clumps and transfer to a steamer basket line with a double layer of cheesecloth. Steam over 1 inch of boiling water in a large saucepan until heated through.
The couscous itself is bland, so the main-course wine should be keyed to the accompaniments. A medium-bodied red will complement the lamb, chicken and meatballs and tolerate all the sweet and spicy flavors, too. Top choice? Fruity California Merlot, such as Shafer or Louis M. Martini.
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