Sunday, February 15, 2015

FFWD ~ Chicken Couscous …it’s French Sunday for me!

For me it’s French Sunday this week….Chicken Couscous
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

Chicken Couscous
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

For serving 

Golden raisins

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.


  1. We have those little birdies hanging by the bushes as well. They always look like they are shivering and I wish I could warm them up. It will be awhile, still very cold here as well although the snow you are getting has not graced us this year, thankfully speaking! This chicken dish looks wonderful, I think this one would fly wonderfully well here, I'll give it a shot. I have some thighs looking for a home recipe this week.

  2. Love that you adjusted this on day two for Bill - too funny. I typically go for these flavors but was simply not in the mood this week, which resulted in my "meh" rating :) Your photos are lovely- the chicken as well as the snow and birds. Though like you and everyone else, I am ready for photos of Spring and flowers. The wind around here today was crazy, as if the cold and snow wasn't enough. Stay warm- Spring is coming eventually !

  3. I'm glad you and Bill came to a meeting of the minds over this recipe. The spices and flavorings really made this dish, the chickpeas very traditional, blah, blah, blah. But if the man doesn't like it, not going to work. This is a dish that you can separate out various parts of it and still make it palatable to everyone. Kathy, the pastries you have been posting on Facebook and Chez Moi the last month have been beautiful. Susan and I were also quite impressed with your gorgeous presentation of strawberries with chocolate and nuts. I would have enjoyed 2 or 3 of them. Nice work. I know you've had enough snow. Your little birdies have their tricks for staying warm but it's great that you keep them fed. Tough going for wild animals right now.

  4. I love this checken cous cous Kathy!! Look awesome!! and love yours pictures!!

  5. Lovely pictures of the birds! and the snow. This recipe was well received in my house, but hubby thought it was a bit sweet and that's without the raisins on his plate!

  6. It looks hearty and warming. A great dish for the cold winter, Kathy.

  7. A perfect dish for a cold snowy Sunday! I love all the birds that you get in your garden - though I would not do well in the snow.

  8. It's been super-cold here too, and I'm making nothing but soup these days! This would be a wonderful add-in to the rotation. I'd love those Moroccan flavours.

  9. We have both birds and squirrels. I love the snowbirds (juncos). Last night I tried a chicken and couscous recipe from Paula Wolfert's Moroccan Couscous book. The recipe was for a whole chicken roasted with almond-raisin-couscous stuffing, no chickpeas, lots of spice. When I've eaten couscous in French homes, they serve the harissa separately as a condiment for those who like it -- and to protect those who don't.
    Wolfert didn't suggest that in her recipe.

    best... mae at

  10. Looks perfect for your weather! I love a good couscous, and this one really appeals. Stay warm - and dry! ~ David

  11. Great recipe, loved the flavors. When I first mixed the spices I was sure I wouldn't like the chicken, but
    it was really tasty. Love the photos of the poor little birds, they look so cold.

  12. At least Bill enjoyed the chicken! I hope things start to warm up for you, soon. Those birds could use a break from the snow and I bet you could, too.

  13. Oh man look at all that snow. I would never survive outside of California. I hope the food is keeping you warm. I agree with your comment "you win some you lose some". There is always next week. See you Friday.

  14. Oh, my gosh, your snow! And you're so kind to feed the birdies. Our Bills are two peas in a pod again---I made a French version of this that I've yet to post. Mine would have poo-pooed the chick peas, too.
    P. S. thanks for the kind note, my friend. xo

  15. Well I was definitely in the mood for something savory after all those (delicious) sweets. Perfect comfort food on a cold winter day!

  16. This dish certainly looked delicious! I bet the saffron and cinnamon tasted wonderful.

  17. Dear Kathy, It is cold outside!!! and it will be getting real cold again in a day to two!!
    This dish is perfect and delicious!
    Keep warm and safe. xo Catherine

  18. We don't have as much snow here, but it is REALLY cold. I'm looking forward to making this warming dish tomorrow. I'm glad to hear that you liked it, but sorry that Bill didn't.

  19. Glad you at least enjoyed the dish, Kathy! I'm so sorry it's so cold out there. The snow is beautiful to look at from afar, though!

  20. The weather has been relentless, Kathy. I say all us bloggers pack up and go warm, lol...

    Your Chicken Couscous would most defintely warm the soul. Light on the spices is good every now and again. I'd like it that way for this dish too:)

    Thanks for sharing, Kathy...

    P.S. Do you have any Meatball recipes you want to share? If so, pop by my blog...

  21. Similar reaction in my house...I loved it, my husband tolerated it!