Friday, August 27, 2010

Moroccan Couscous with Chicken

As much as I love the produce available this time of year, sometimes you find yourself in an empty kitchen with no perfect tomatoes or baby arugula, still in need of something delicious.  Such was the case after a weekend away for the bridal shower.  All we had in the way of vegetables was half a bag of frozen peas, a few baby carrots, and two scallions.  I did, however, have a box of couscous, some frozen chicken thighs, and a well stocked spice cabinet.  Thus Moroccan couscous with chicken was born.  

I threw the chicken in the oven with a few seasonings while I got to work on the couscous.  First I sauteed some chopped garlic in oil until golden, then added chicken broth and a lot of spices.  Once it was boiling, I added chopped carrots, let them cook for a few minutes, and then the peas.  The chicken was done just as the broth returned to a boil.  As I let the meat rest, I took the broth off the heat and stirred in the couscous and raisins.  After 10 minutes, I fluffed the couscous and shredded the chicken.  I stirred them both together with some lemon juice, scallions and oil and served.  Though certainly not summery, this once pot dish was out of this world.  It was spicy but favorable, with an interesting sweetness from the raisins and cinnamon.  It also made for a delicious lunch cold the next day.

The best thing about this dish is how flexible it is.  If you don't have carrots and peas, use red pepper and cucumber.  Just adjust the cooking times appropriately.  If you don't have chicken, leave it out or use chickpeas instead.

Moroccan Couscous with Chicken

2 c. chicken broth
10 oz. couscous
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 clove garlic
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 c. raisins
1-1/3 c. frozen peas
1 c. diced carrots
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 c. diced chicken or canned chickpeas

1. Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add the garlic.  Sautee until golden, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the broth, ginger, tumeric, and cumin.  Bring to a boil.  Add the carrots and cook for 4 minutes.  Add the peas.  Cook 2 minutes.
2. Remove the broth from the heat and stir in the couscous.  Sprinkle the raisins on top and cover for ten minutes.

3. Remove cover.  Fluff couscous with a fork.  Stir in scallions,  remaining tbs. oil, lemon juice, and chicken or chickpeas, it using.  Serve.

Serves 3-4 as a main dish, 6 as a side.

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