North African Meat Sauce with Saffron Couscous

Recently, a chef friend of mine sent me a recipe she came across in the New York Times - she did a riff using Wild Idea Buffalo Meat and said that it was fabulous! Being in the middle of nowhere is a lot like social distancing, so I modified with what I had on hand as well as changed structure based on the time that I had.

But this is the great thing about a recipe, it can be used as a guideline and then you can riff away and make it your own! This recipe is filled with a bunch of aromatic spices that are great for both digestion and the taste buds. Win-win!

Ingredients (Serves 6):

For the Sauce:

  • 1 – pound Wild Idea Premium Ground Buffalo
  • 2 – tablespoons oil
  • 1 – onion, chopped
  • 1 – teaspoon salt
  • ½ - teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 – teaspoon allspice
  • 1 – teaspoon ginger
  • 1 – teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 – teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ - teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ - teaspoon cumin
  • ½ - teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ - teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 – cloves garlic (2 tablespoons), chopped
  • 3 – tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 – cups, organic chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 3 – tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 – tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 – green onions chopped

For the Couscous:

  • 1 – tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 – cups couscous
  • 2 – cups water or broth
  • ½ - cup chopped apricots
  • .01 oz. – saffron*

*This is expensive, so if you don’t have it, no worries.


  1. In a skillet over medium high heat, add the oil, onions and dried spices. Sauté for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  2. Crumble in the Ground Buffalo and chopped garlic, stir to incorporate and brown, about 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Add half of the fresh chopped herbs before serving.
  5. For the couscous. Heat the oil and the couscous in a pot over medium high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, liquid and saffron. Stir and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer with the lid on stirring occasionally for 7 minutes.
  6. Serve the meat sauce over the couscous and garnish with remaining chopped herbs.

*I accompanied with a cucumber and red onion salad, mixed with a little yogurt and cilantro.

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  • This has become one (of many) of our favorite recipes. We love these North African spices and I always try any recipes that include these wonderful flavors. The ground buffalo is the perfect match, making a flavorful, fun meal.

  • Hi Susan – yes – that is what I used, but I think others would work too, or rice. I hope you enjoy it! jill

  • This recipe sounds wonderful and I’m looking forward to trying it. The picture looks like Israeli couscous – could you clarify? Thanks you!

  • I tried this recipe last night and it is awesome! Substituted red pepper flakes for the cayenne as we don’t care for super-spicy food. It took a whlle to get all the spices assembled and measured, but that’s the learning curve.

    Thanks so much for a new standby recipe when I want to prepare dinner quickly.

  • This is a recipe that I will make often. It’s an interesting use of spices and an economical use of the ground buffalo at only one pound . It happily feeds quite a few.

  • Hi Nancy. The recipe called for golden raisins – so try those, or leave out. Here is the link to the recipe that was featured in the NY Times.

  • What else would work well other than apricots? I am NOT a fan of fruit mixed in savory dishes. :-P

    Other than that, it sounds fantastic! :)


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