Couscous Pkeila - Beef, spinach and bean couscous


This dish — known as Couscous Pkeila in Tunisia — works best in a pressure cooker. If you don’t have one cook it in a large, non-stick pot — the meat for 1½ to 2 hours plus another 45 minutes for the beans.

Serves: 8
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: with pressure cooker: 1½ hours; without: 2 to 2½ hours

8 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions
800g beef (cholent or goulash cut) in 8 large pieces
80g frozen or fresh leaf spinach, washed and drained
1 tbsp harissa
400g kidney beans
Salt, pepper,
1 tbsp turmeric
15g coriander, chopped


In a pressure cooker, fry the onion with the oil, on a medium heat until browned.

Add the spinach, and fry for 10 minutes more, stirring regularly; then add the meat and cook for another 10 minutes.

Season with the harissa, salt, pepper and turmeric.

Pour on 2 litres of cold water — enough to cover the meat and spinach completely.

Cover with the lid, let it boil, and then close the pressure cooker and cook for one hour.

After one hour, open the pressure cooker, add the beans and an extra 500ml of water. Cook for another half hour until the beans are soft. Taste, and season if necessary.

Serve sprinkled with coriander and with the couscous.

Preparation: 10 mins
Cooking: 30 mins
Steaming the couscous gives a lighter and more fluffy grain than by simply rehydrating it with boiling water. You will need a steamer or saucepan with a lid and a sieve large enough for 500g of couscous.

500g of fine or medium couscous
6 – 8 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt, pepper


Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.

In a bowl, wash the couscous and drain.

Add salt, a good shake of pepper and the oil.

Mix everything with your hands.

Put the couscous in a sieve over the pan of boiling water and cover it with the lid.

Steam with the lid on for approximately 30 minutes, stirring regularly.

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