Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Chicken Couscous. Couscous is the name of both the small semolina pasta as well the spiced North African stew that is served with it. As a versatile alternative to rice, couscous is quick and easy to cook and is quite delicious when served with Dorie´s colorful chicken and vegetable stew.
Couscous is traditionally prepared (in a couscoussière) in the steam that rises from the stew simmering underneath. It is a long but enjoyable ritual that gives an exceptionally light and fluffy result. But most of the couscous we buy in Middle Eastern grocery stores (and well-stocked supermarkets) around here, is ready-cooked and dried and needs only a brief soaking in water or stock. It is ready in about five minutes. What Dorie´s recipe lacks in the ritual and lightness of the traditional steamers, it makes up for in speed and ease for a family-friendly, enjoyable Friday evening supper.
For Dorie´s recipe you start by browning the chicken pieces in a large Dutch oven. Then you add the spice mix consisting of freshly grated ginger, ground tumeric, and cumin, cinnamon and saffron threads, as well as freshly ground black pepper, sea salt and some garlic. At this point your are looking to just get the raw taste off the spices. The spice mix will give the chicken not only a wonderful color but will also impart the pieces with delicious flavors.
Then add some homemade chicken stock to the pot, add leeks, onions, celery, carrots and turnips and cook for about fifiteen minutes. Take some of the broth to cook the couscous (I added shredded carrots to the couscous for even more taste and color) and finish the stew with zucchini and chickpeas – which will take about another five minutes to cook.
You should serve this Chicken Couscous while good and hot – I placed a large platter in the middle of the table and served the remainder of the couscous, chicken stew and broth in separate bowls.
Apart from the fact that we enjoyed the flavors of the Chicken Couscous, what I also appreciated about this recipe is that you can cook and season the couscous separately to serve with the chicken. Then the juices from the chicken pieces will flavor the couscous underneath. Thus letting you prepare the stew as well as the couscous at different times. And this recipe also doubles up very easily for larger numbers.
To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.
For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for “Chicken Couscous “ on pages 214-16 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".