Friday, 26 December 2008

Fruit and nut couscous with chicken

Moroccan inspired, rather than derived, this delightful recipe comes from an unexpected source. I bought Barbecue Bible for Saffron-Papa's birthday some years back after lusting over it for many months myself. I still find its mouth-watering photography and yummy-sounding recipes very enticing, but due to space restrictions at the Saffron household, am content to refer to Saffron-Papa's copy whenever in Australia.

Jam-packed with fruit and aromatic spices and bursting with the zing of lemons, this recipe makes a lovely dinner, whether cooked outdoors or in. The chicken is skewered in the original recipe, but you could just as easily grill or pan-fry it, as the mood takes you.

Fruit and nut couscous with chicken

Serves 8

1 kg skinless chicken breast fillets or leg
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground paprika
4 tsp lemon juice

8 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 tsp each ground cumin, cinnamon, pepper and ginger
125 g dried dates, chopped
125 g dried apricots, finely chopped
125 blanched almonds, toasted and chopped
1.2 l vegetable stock
375 g couscous
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
salt & pepper

To garnish
seeds from half a pomegranate or a handful of dried cranberries
lemon wedges
fresh coriander sprigs

1 Cut the chicken into long thin strips, place them in a shallow dish and add the olive oil, garlic, spices and lemon juice. Stir well, then cover and leave to marinate for 2 hours.

2 To prepare the couscous, heat half of the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion, garlic ans spices for 5 minutes. Stir in the dried fruits and almonds and remove from the heat.
3 Meanwhile, pour the stock over the couscous, cover with a tea towel and leave for 8-10 min, until the grains are fluffed up and the liquid absorbed. Stir in the remaining oil and the fruit and nut mixture, add the lemon juice and coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4 While the couscous is standing, cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side over medium coals, until charred and cooked through. Serve with the couscous, garnished with pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries, lemon wedges and coriander sprigs.


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