Tangy Cherry Chicken

This one is for Neil Diamond. I just love that "Cherry" song and he still "has the way to move me, Baby!"
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 6 ounces each

2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves, about 6 sprigs

Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper 

1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts) a couple of handfuls

3 cups chicken stock, divided

4 tablespoons cold butter, divided

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

3 ribs celery, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it

1 cup dry white wine, 1/4 of a bottle

1 cup dried cherries, a couple of handfuls

2 cups plain couscous

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, eyeball it

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, eyeball it

1/4 cup honey, eyeball a healthy drizzling

2 scallions, finely chopped

A generous handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat with the 3 turns of the pan of extra-virgin olive oil, about 3 tablespoons. Season chicken liberally with half of the thyme, salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  2. In the bottom of a medium sauce pot, heat and toast pine nuts over moderate heat and remove. Add 2 cups stock and 1 tablespoon butter to the pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Return the chicken skillet to the burner over medium-high heat, add 1 turn of the pan of extra-virgin olive oil, add the onion, celery, crushed red pepper flakes, nutmeg, salt and pepper, cook for 3 to 4 or until the celery and onions are tender. Add the white wine, and cook until the pan is almost dry, 1 minute. Add 2 cups chicken stock, dried cherries and continue to cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until there is only about 1/2 cup of liquid left in the pan. Turn the heat off the under the pan. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons cold butter in small pieces and whisk until it has completely melted.
  4. In a medium saucepan bring the remaining 1 cup chicken stock to a boil, add couscous, allspice, cinnamon and a little salt. Cover pot and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Drizzle honey over the couscous and add the pine nuts, scallions and parsley. Toss and fluff with a fork to combine.
  5. Serve the chicken whole or sliced with cherry sauce poured over it and couscous alongside. Dark seared greens or simple salad complete the meal.