Middle Eastern Chicken Pot and Butter-Nut Couscous
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped dried fruits - pick 1 or combine: figs, pitted dates, apricots, sultanas
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 3/4 cup pitted mixed olives, chopped
- 4 cups chicken stock, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds
- 1 1/2 cups couscous
- Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil ripples add the chicken and brown 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, bay leaf and season with spices, salt and pepper, cook 5 to 6 minutes. Stir the fruits into the chicken and vegetables, add the zest of the lemon, olives and 2 1/2 cups of stock. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with lemon juice and turn off heat. Remove bay leaf.
While chicken simmers, melt butter in a sauce pot over medium heat. Add nuts and lightly toast for a couple of minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups stock and bring up to a boil then stir in couscous. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.
Serve chicken over couscous, or vice versa, and garnish with parsley.