Baby it’s cold outside!! Today the temperature, in my neck of the woods, is a balmy 9 degrees, with a wind chill of 20 below! We have had snow on and off for several days! This is the kind of weather that calls for a super cozy, comforting dish! Lucky for us, French Fridays pick for this week was for Chicken Couscous! A perfect pick for this very cold week, as far as I’m concerned!
Usually, my husband is not a fan of savory dishes that include warm spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and turmeric. So I went light on the spices.
|I found this dish wonderfully warm and comforting|
This dish was relatively easy to put together! Mixing the spices, with chopped garlic and chopped fresh ginger. Then cooking the chicken in a little olive oil and butter. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The chicken is then sprinkled with the spice mixture, and cooked until they’re no longer raw looking. At this point, the broth is added to the pot along with the celery, carrots, leeks and onions. I chose not to use turnips. When done, it is served with the couscous, that was cooked in several cups of the broth the chicken was cooked in. At the end, a can of chickpeas is added to the chicken mixture. You then serve this lovely concoction with the optional Harissa and golden raisins. I didn’t use the Harissa, and I thought the raisins would have been better if they were thrown into the pot, along with the chickpeas. I also added about a half cup of sliced almonds to the broth.
Actually, I love the Moroccan flavors that permeate this dish! I found them subtle and soothing. For me this dish was a winner….not so much for Mr. Bill. He didn’t mind the flavors…but he really disliked the chickpeas and couscous! The second night I served him the chicken, with some boiled buttered potatoes, and peas! I know...I know, what can I say? At least he ate the chicken!
This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, “Around My French Table”. I also shared it here, because it has been shared several times on-line.
|Perfect for the cold snowy weather we’ve been having here|
|Pretty female Downy woodpecker…the male has a tuft of red on his head|
|Note all the little birds hanging by this bush…I think they’re trying to stay warm|
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger or 2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp saffron threads, pinched between your fingers (optional)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-3 Tb unsalted butter
1 chicken, about 4 pounds, cut into 8 pieces, patted dry, at room temp
5 to 6 cups chicken broth
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 small white onions
2 celery stalks, trimmed, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium turnips or potatoes, trimmed, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking couscous
2 slender zucchini, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Mix ginger and next five ingredients along with salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken pieces (working in batches, if necessary) and scatter spice mix over top. Cook, turning pieces so they pick up the seasoning mix, just until they loose their raw texture. They don't have to be browned.
Pour the broth in to the pot, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and add leeks, onions, celery, carrots and turnips/potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Transfer 3 cups of broth to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour in the couscous and simmer for a minute. Turn off heat, cover and let stand for five minutes, or until the broth is fully absorbed.
Add the zucchini and chickpeas to the stew and cook until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.
Fluff the couscous with a fork and serve the stew over the couscous, with harissa and golden raisins and extra broth as necessary.