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Beef and Vegetable Stew with Couscous

Updated: Jun 9, 2021

The term ‘couscous’ refers to the type of grain that forms the base of this dish. Traditionally, the smallest variety of couscous is Moroccan of origin, and it is produced by coarsely grinding durum wheat. This being said, there are other types of couscous, including the millet grain that Jessica B. Harris used in her recipe. This being said, as much as couscous refers to the grain itself, it is also the name of the entire dish that encompasses the grain and a stew, conventionally comprised of an umami broth, vegetables and meat. One of the more comforting meals, couscous has always brought my family together. Although the recipe in The African Cookbook- Tastes of a Continent, called for millet couscous, I decided to remain true to traditional couscous for this reason— the memories that come with this dinner are unparalleled. I used the Africa cookbook as a guide, fusing sub-saharan African cooking (primarily from Mali) with Algerian methods that remind me of home.

If you are in a time pinch, it is completely fine to skip making the broth from scratch. Instead, use store bought broth and add fresh vegetables.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 leeks, chopped

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cubed

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch

  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch

  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1 inch

  • 6 baby potatoes, cut in half

  • 2 lb. beef top sirloin, cut into cubes

  • 3 branches of thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 springs of parsley

  • 7 cups of water

  • 1 (14 oz. can) garbanzo beans

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 cups couscous cooked according to package

Yields: serving for 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour


  1. In a Dutch oven, brown the meat in oil.

  2. Add the onion and leek, and cook for 5 minutes.

  3. Add the remaining vegetables. Cook for a few more minutes.

  4. In the meantime, make the bouquet garni by tying the parsley, thyme and bay leaf together.

  5. Add to the meat mixture.

  6. Add the water and let the mixture come to a boil.

  7. Lower the heat, cover the pan and let the mixture simmer on low for 1 hour until the beef is tender.

  8. Adjust the seasonings.

  9. Add the garbanzo beans 10 minutes before serving.

  10. Serve over couscous.

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