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algerian couscous with lamb shoulder stew

Algerian Lamb Shoulder Stew With Couscous

  • Author: Lily
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6


A tender slow-cooked lamb shoulder stew with couscous steaming above, this Algerian one-steamer recipe is full of flavor.


  • 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of lamb shoulder or veal shoulder with the bone (cut into large pieces)
  • 1 lb couscous (around 450 grams)
  • 1 large onion or 2 small onions
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 medium turnips
  • 1 large zucchini or 5 baby zucchini
  • 2 cups fresh green beans
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 fresh mint leaves (or 1 tsp dried mint)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 3 tbsp of tomato paste
  • Salt to taste (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Water


Prepare the Lamb Stew

  1. In a bowl, add the paprika, ground coriander, salt, pepper, and meat. Mix together with your hands very well. 
  2. Chop the onions and garlic very finely. Chop the parsley finely. Mince the tomato finely. Set aside.
  3. Peel and chop the carrots and turnips in the same size. Chop the zucchini in the same size. Set aside.
  4. In the steamer pot on medium-high heat, add the ghee, olive oil, or frying oil. Add the meat and brown for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Cover the pot and cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. 
  6. Add the tomato paste, minced tomatoes, chopped parsley, bay leaf, 1 tsp sugar, and 2 fresh mint leaves. Continue to cook on medium-high heat covered for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Add the chopped carrots, turnips, and zucchini. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes covered. 
  8. Add 4.25 cups (about 1 liter) of hot water to the steamer pot. Make sure that there is about 1" to 2" of space from the top of the pot for the steamer tray. Continue cooking the lamb stew for about 1 hour on medium-high heat. The couscous will steam on top of the lamb stew as it continues to cook.
  9. Cut the ends off the fresh green beans. Boil on high with water for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the Couscous

  1. In a very large bowl, pour the dry couscous. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of salt. Using the hand technique for rubbing the couscous, mix the olive oil and salt into the dry couscous. Add 1.5 cups of room temperature water on top of the couscous without mixing. Allow the couscous to absorb the water and swell for 10 minutes.
  2. Using the hand technique, mix the couscous. Add the couscous to the steamer. A few pieces of couscous will fall through the holes in the steamer, this is normal. Put the steamer basket on top of the lamb stew and keep it uncovered. Monitor the couscous. After about 10 minutes, the steam will start to come off the couscous. Start a 5-minute timer. The couscous should be steaming without a cover.
  3. Pour the couscous into a very large bowl. Add 1 cup of water and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix with a spoon because it's hot. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Using the hand technique, roll the couscous between your hands separating the couscous grains.
  4. Add the couscous to the steamer basket a second time. Place the steamer basket on top of the lamb stew without a cover. The couscous should never be covered with a lid. Wait until steam starts rising off of the couscous (about 10 minutes) and then start a 5-minute timer. 
  5. Remove the couscous from the steamer into a very large bowl. Allow it to cool. Using the hand technique, roll the couscous between your palms. The couscous should be fluffy and tender.


  • If using instant couscous, prepare the couscous per the bag instructions.
  • Other lamb or veal cuts can be substituted.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Algerian


  • Serving Size: 1/6 dish
  • Calories: 622 calories
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 1100 mg
  • Fat: 30 g
  • Saturated Fat: 13 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 17 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 63 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Cholesterol: 12 mg

Keywords: lamb shoulder, lamb stew, Algerian stew, lamb shoulder recipe, Algerian lamb and couscous

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