1 1/2 pounds coucous (durum wheat recommended)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup lukewarm water
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons Olive oil
2 small Cornish hens or 4 medium quails, cut into small pieces
1 large red onion, julienned, plus 1 large red onion, finely chopped
4 stems parsley, finely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 generous pinch saffron
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 bay leaves
1-2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout
2 cups water
4 tablespoons honey
1 cup garbanzo beans, pre-cooked or soaked overnight
1 cup seedless raisins
20 majhoul dates or 1 pound biskra or deglat-nour dates
1/2 cup roasted, skinless almonds
Pour the couscous in a large bowl, add salt, to taste, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 cup lukewarm water, 4 tablespoons of the melted butter. Mix and let rest for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed.
Preheat a thick pot. Add olive oil and heat. Add Cornish hen or quail and brown for a few minutes. Add the chopped and julienned onion, parsley, remaining butter, spices, salt, and 2 cups water. Cook for 15 minutes.
Add honey, garbanzo beans, raisins, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add water as needed. Add the dates. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the dates are hot.
Separate the couscous grains by rubbing both hands together. Make sure there are no lumps. Fill the bottom of the couscoussiere (or pot) with 1 1/2 gallons water. Bring to a boil. Put the couscoussiere (or fine-meshed sieve) on top. When the vapour comes up, pour the couscous in the top (sieve), and let it steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender and spongy.
On a large platter, spread a 1-inch thick layer of couscous. Add some pieces of Cornish hen or quail around the middle. Then pour over the surface onions, raisins, and garbanzo beans.
Garnish with dates, the roasted almonds, and the rest of the sauce. Serve hot
RAS EL HANOUT SPICE BLEND
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
I teaspoon turmeic
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients until combined well. Spice blend keeps in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 month.