Moroccan-Style Chicken and Herbed Couscous

Moroccan-Style Chicken and Herbed Couscous

Moroccan-Style Chicken

It’s been raining for nearly four days straight in Marin. Yes, I know I should feel relieved because we so dearly need that precipitation, but it sure is making everything dark and dreary. My advice: put on some loud music and get in the kitchen.

Earlier today I spent about an hour leafing through my dozens of cookbooks, and this is what I came up with for you. It’s a combination of a bunch of different recipes, so it might be a stretch to even call it “Moroccan,” but it’s delicious nonetheless. It’ll heighten the senses and lift the spirit!

4 large chicken breasts, trimmed and cut in to 1-inch pieces
2 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbs. dry white wine
2 tsp. honey
Juice of 1 lemon
Grated rind of one lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup chicken stock
12 dried apricot halves, coarsely chopped
10-15 black olives (the oily, salty kind
1/2 tsp. sea salt
To garnish:
Chopped parsley
Slivered almonds, toasted

1) In a large bowl, combine chicken pieces with the next 9 ingredients (from the wine through the ground ginger). Mix well and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, or overnight.
2) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and add the onions. Sauté onion until translucent and soft. Add the chicken, marinade, and chicken stock. Cover and let simmer on medium low for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) When chicken is almost cooked through, add the apricots, olives, and salt, stir, and cook on low for 4-5 minutes. Adjust the salt if necessary.
4) Ladle over whole wheat couscous or brown rice, and top with toasted almonds and parsley.

Leftovers can be saved in the fridge for several days and easily reheated. Also, it’s great for freezing in an airtight container.

Herbed Couscous Pilaf (with an appearance from DirectionFive)

Last weekend we had a GREAT turnout, with about 20 kiddos showing up for the hands-on cooking demonstration put on by myself and my fellow DirectionFive teacher, Cyrelle. Once a month, we set up at the market in Larkspur Landing to make a wholesome, seasonal recipe that requires very few ingredients and is simple enough that 3-year-olds can help make it (parents, pay attention!). For this recipe, we talked about where couscous comes from (whole wheat) and how water cooks broccoli (it steams it), and in less than 20 minutes, we had transformed a box of couscous into a nourishing meal that all the kids ate and most of them loved!

Seeing kids enthusiastic about cooking makes me giddy.

This recipe can be used as a side dish on its own or as a accompaniment to the chicken dish above (though I would omit the Parmesan cheese and broccoli, if that’s the case).

Serves 4-5
1 cup whole wheat couscous (I used the Trader Joe’s brand)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 Tbs. minced parsley
1 Tbs. minced chives
1 Tbs. minced shallot
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Combine couscous, broccoli, and boiling water in a small saucepan, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes (or cook couscous according to the directions on package and add broccoli at the end). Add parsley and chives, then cover. While couscous is sitting, whisk together ingredients for the dressing: shallot, vinegar, olive oil, lemon, and salt and pepper. Uncover couscous, mix in dressing, and serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.


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