Ferakh Maamer

By Marie-Pierre Moine From the book Mediterranean Cookbook
Ferakh Maamer

This festive dish is packed with powerful aromas and infuses bland poussins with flavour. You can also use pigeons or a large chicken instead

Prep Time 15 min Cook time 1 h 15 min For how many? Serves 4


  • 400g (14oz) ready-to-cook couscous
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ready-to-cook poussins
  • 400ml (14fl oz) hot light chicken stock
  • pinch of saffron strands
  • 1 tbsp snipped mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp snipped coriander leaves
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • For the stuffing:
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 2 spring onions, white (and green) parts only, finely chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½–1 scant tsp harissa paste
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp dried coriander


1. Cook the couscous according to the packet instructions. For the stuffing, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Add half the cooked couscous, season, and toss well.

2. Lightly salt the cavity of each poussin, then spoon in the stuffing. Stir the unused stuffing into the remaining couscous.

3. In a deep, ovenproof sauté pan, heat the stock over a medium heat and add thesaffron. Simmer, add the poussins, cover, reduce the heat, and cook for 20 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF/Gas 7). Remove the lid and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 15–20 minutes. Remove most of the liquid. Cover and return to the turned off oven for 10 minutes.

5. Reheat the couscous in a pan and add 2–3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Season and stir in half the fresh herbs. Bring the remaining cooking liquid to the boil in a pan. Stir in the lemon juice. Season. Place the poussins on a platter and surround with the couscous. Drizzle over the cooking liquid, scatter over the remaining herbs, and serve.

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