Moroccan Chicken and Couscous

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Moroccan Chicken with Couscous

I love it when I try a new recipe and it’s a  home run! That happened this week. It was delicious, healthy, easy and a completely new flavor/idea. That’s not just a home run, that’s a GRAND SLAM!

I feel like we get stuck in a flavor rut sometimes. We stick to familiar flavors. Italian food, yes. Mexican, yes. Chinese, sure. Then we might get a little more adventurous. Indian, okay. Thai, maybe. But Moroccan? I’ve never thought to myself, I’d like to use some Moroccan influence in my cooking today.  But boy am I glad I did. It was just different, refreshingly so.

Now you are worried that since it’s exotic, you’re going to have to visit the local Moroccan store. Good news! I don’t even know there is such a thing. I made this dinner with stuff that is normally around my house anyway (except raisins, I had to go get those, cuz they aren’t my favorite.) In any case, all of the stuff you need is at the plain old American grocery store.

The spice for this dish is called ras el hanout. I’d never heard of it. But luckily it is just a spice mixture made with stuff you perhaps already have. Morocco’s version of curry. Again, it was just different. Make yourself the ras el hanout before hand. That will make your prep quicker. You won’t need the entire recipe, so save the leftovers for next time.

ras el hanout spice

It’s pretty straight forward to make. Adding the food-processed cilantro to the couscous was a revelation. Such a great way to add flavor! I’m not a fan of raisins in baked goods so I’ve always been sort of opposed to adding raisins to food. But they were actually a highlight of this dish. They added a pop of sweet flavor.  Everything melded together. It was interesting and fun.  My kids ate it without complaint!

moroccan chicken and couscous

If you feel like you’re in a flavor rut, try it!

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white or red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, halved crosswise, then quartered lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons ras el hanout (see below)
  • 1 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons water
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro, about 1 large bunch, leaves and stems
  • 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • Ras El Hanout
  • Note: This recipe makes a bit more than you need for the above recipe. You can save the leftovers for another use.
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

Instructions

  1. Mix together all spices for ras el hanout, set aside. You will only use 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture in this recipe.
  2. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and allow to soften. About 5 minutes. Then add carrot and cook additional 5 minutes.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons ras el hanout, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to coat the onion and carrots. Add 2 cups water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots become just tender.
  4. While the sauce simmers, make the couscous according to the label, except substitute all or part of the water with chicken stock. While the couscous cooks, puree 1 3/4 cups cilantro (especially the stems) with 2 tablespoons water and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the couscous is cooked, gently stir in the cilantro paste until well incorporated. Cover to keep warm.
  5. Stir the chicken and raisins into the vegetables. Cook for about 5 more minutes or until the raisins are plump. Stir in the honey and remaining cilantro.
  6. Serve over couscous and garnish with almonds.
http://eatthinkbemerry.com/2016/01/moroccan-chicken-and-couscous/

Adapted from Food Network Magazine Moroccan Chicken with Couscous

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