Berkoukes (Algerian Couscous Stew)

Berkoukes (Algerian

Berkoukes is a traditional Berber dish made of a large couscous that is a hand rolled semolina pasta shaped like small balls or pellets. Of course throughout the country the recipes vary from the Kabylie region of the Atlas Mountains to the Capital of Algiers. Typically the recipes from Algiers are mild in flavor whereas in the mountains dried meats and fats are added for a much stronger flavor. Second after taste is how much sauce is in it. My husband always wants extra sauce, but for this dish not much is needed. Depending how you like it doesn’t make much difference, either add more water or not. Serve this dish on a cold winter’s night with a drizzle of olive oil and warm kesra or matlou3.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound meat (lamb, chicken, beef)
  • 1 1/2 cups berkoukes
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 4 cups hot water +/-
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and sprinkle with salt to sweat.
  2. Add meat and brown.
  3. Season and continue to brown.
  4. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and slightly caramelize.
  5. Add chickpeas, carrots and potatoes, continue to brown.
  6. Then add cilantro and parsley, stir then add hot water, bring to a boil for 1 minute.
  7. Lower temperature and simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. Mix in zucchini and peas, simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Add 1 cup of water, and berkoukes cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  10. Stir frequently and check to see if more water is needed as the berkoukes will absorb a lot of water. Garnish with parsley and harissa, serve with bread.

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Dolma (Algerian Stuffed Vegetables)

Dolma

Is Dolma an Algerian or Turkish recipe? That is the question Shakespeare. Surprisingly Shakespeare was around when the Turkish brought the Dolma recipe to Algeria under the Ottoman Empire. In Turkey the recipe is actually called Dolmak which means “to be stuffed”. Countless items can be turned into “Dolma” such as squid, cabbage, grape leaves and even chicken breast. Traditionally the Dolma is stuffed with a meat mixture and if it’s not it’s referred to as “Fake Dolmak” so don’t be that person that serves fake dolma!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound minced beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/4 cup rice (presoaked for 10 minutes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 zucchini chopped into thirds
  • 4-5 small potatoes
  • 2-3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups hot water

Directions:

  1. Start by preparing the vegetables. Zucchinis are always peeled in 3-4 sections as shown below. Then halved or cut into thirds depending on how big they are. Carefully hollow each vegetable. This takes some practice, start out slow!
  2. Then in a large bowl mix minced beef, rice, parsley, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  3. Fill vegetables with meat and roll what is left over into meatballs.
  4. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions. Sprinkle with salt to sweat onions.
  5. Add meatballs if any, and brown.
  6. Then coordinate vegetables so they all stand up.
  7. Slowly add 8 cups hot water, add salt and bring to a boil.
  8. After 1 minute of boiling lower heat to a simmer and cover pot.
  9. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  10. Garnish with parsley.

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Vol au Vent Algérienne (Algerian Puff Pastry)

Vol au Vent Algérienne (Algerian Puff Pastry)

A classic French puff pastry filled with a creamy béchamel sauce spiced with an Algerian twist. These puff pastries make an amazing addition to any table but be careful as these are very rich in ingredients. It’s easy to eat one to many of these.

Ingredients:

  • 6 puff pastry shells (premade)
  • 1/2 pound minced beef
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 ounces cubed cheese (I use smoked gouda but any cheese is fine)
  • 4 ounces diced mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons smen (clarified butter but pure butter can be substituted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley to garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large pan melt smen/butter over medium-low heat, making sure to not burn it.
  2. Slowly sprinkle flour and whisk rapidly, creating a heavy sauce texture.
  3. Add milk and continue to whisk. Then add cheese to melt.
  4. In another pan brown beef and mushrooms.
  5. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.
  6. Drain oil from beef.
  7. Once the cheese has melted into a “béchamel” sauce like texture pour over beef and set aside.
  8. Bake puff pastry shells.
  9. Remove tops from shells and fill with beef/cheese mixture.
  10. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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Osbane de Poulet (Algerian Stuffed Chicken)

Osbane de Poulet

Osbane de Poulet is one of the very first dishes my husband ever prepared for me. It’s one of the many reasons why I fell in love with him. Not just because it tastes amazing, but because we share a passion for food. Yes, everyone loves to eat, but we could be eating and thinking about what we’ll eat tomorrow or even next week. It’s very common in a French household to do the same and since Algerians are heavily influenced by the French due to their colonization, this habit runs strong in the family.

This dish is fairly heavy and rich in flavor, I would suggest this dish to be paired with many vegetables. Meat stuffed into more meat, it’s an American dream.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large chicken breast
  • 8 ounces minced beef
  • 1 large onion grated
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 small tomato sliced
  • 6 ounces chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 ounces rice
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Soak rice for 10 minutes in advance.
  2. Preheat oven to 375° F
  3. Combine minced beef, chopped onion, parsley, rice, cumin, cinnamon, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Slice chicken to roll out flat.
  5. In the middle of breast fill with beef mixture about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup. Roll the right side into the left and the left on top of the right.
  6. Secure together with toothpicks.
  7. If there is any leftover beef mixture roll into meatballs.
  8. Lay each breast into a baking dish.
  9. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  10. Layer on slices of tomato and onion.
  11. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil in a “A-Style Tent” and bake for 40 minutes.
  12. Remove aluminum foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes.
  13. Let set for 10 minutes, remove toothpicks and serve. Best served with mashed potatoes.

*cooking times may differentiate due to location. always check that the meat is cook thoroughly.

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Techniques on filling chicken:

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