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Friday, July 30, 2010

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous

This was a foray into new cuisine in our house. I'd seen a recipe for couscous on Ina Garten's show several weeks ago and thought it looked like a very easy and unusual dish to try. So, the other day I bought some bulk couscous at Sunflower Market.

Michael was a little reticent since he'd never had Moroccan fare, so we put off making it for awhile. Finally, I decided to pair the couscous with a Moroccan inspired chicken dish featuring sauteed chicken, lots of spices and vegetables. The results were a hit.

Michael describes couscous as "rice that melts in your mouth." The whole meal is very fragrant and pleasing with layers of spice flavors that play nicely together. The couscous with the pignoli nuts and raisins is slightly sweet against the warm spices that permeate the veggies and chicken.

If you enjoy Indian food, you'll probably really enjoy this Moroccan inspired meal. The nice thing about this is you can adjust the various ingredient portions to suit your tastes.

Note: Technically, this recipe is supposed to serve about 2 people, but I found it easily serves 4.

Moroccan Chicken

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1-inch cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1-2 stick(s) celery, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
1 can chickpeas
1 tsp. salt
1-2 clove garlic, chopped (based on your taste preference)
1 medium tomato, diced
1 1/2 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1 1/2 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup chicken broth

Place vegetables and spices in large pot with chicken broth and juice from chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender.

In the meantime, rub chicken with a little salt and pepper and saute chicken cubes until cooked through. Add to vegetables and spices in last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and serve over couscous.

Couscous with Pignoli Nuts and Raisin

1 1/2 cups Couscous
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup pignoli (pine) nuts, toasted
1/4 cup raisins (or currants)
1 green onion, chopped
4 tbs. butter

In large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat and saute onion for about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and increase heat to bring to a boil. When boiling, remove from heat and add couscous. Cover pan and allow couscous to absorb liquid for 10 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, nuts, and raisin and serve.

Note: to toast pine nuts, place in small pan over medium-low heat and toast just until golden brown and fragrant. 

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