Moroccan Chicken with Apricots, Almonds and Couscous
I took a little Thanksgiving hiatus for a while there, spent a week with my parents in Atlanta while my husband was in Italy on a business trip. It wasn’t the most traditional Thanksgiving, of course we had all of the trimmings and ate like pigs, but it was stress free, hallelujah. My uncle had his son for the holiday and wanted to host dinner at his house, again, hallelujah and thank you David. We all contributed, he took care of the wine, cranberry sauce, collards and green bean casserole; my mother the Turkey and stuffing; my sister the mashed potatoes and cornbread dressing; and I provided dessert, a store-bought pumpkin pie and a maple pear upside-down cake, a recent Thanksgiving staple in our family. We didn’t have to clean up the house for guests, which always sends my mother into a tizzy. There was minor clean-up in the kitchen since there were two kitchens and we could work in happy stages during the day. The best part was that after making my cake in the morning, I spent the rest of the day in my pj’s, lazing around the house and napping, glorious glorious relaxation.
It was nice to take a little break from the kitchen, though Italicious is hurting as a result, I am lacking in new material and really need to get on a creative kick in the kitchen to come up with some new stuff.
After my return from Atlanta, I invited a few girlfriends over for dinner, this gave me a chance to try a new recipe and provide myself with some new material for the blog. I know that it is not advisable to try new recipes with guests, but I threw caution to the wind and tried this chicken and couscous dish that I found in my book of Jewish recipes. It was delicious, but I think it needed an extra kick to it, maybe a little lemon juice added at the end. Between the honey, the almonds and the apricots there was a whole lot of sweet, but no spark amidst all of that sweetness.
I do love a braised chicken, the meat falling off of the bone, so juicy and delicious. I made enough for an army, not sure what I was thinking. As one of my friends was calling me to cancel, I grabbed an additional chicken at the grocery store, not sure what was going through my head, fear of not having enough food. I have enough leftovers to feed another army.
Moroccan Chicken with Apricots, Almonds & Couscous
from 1,000 Jewish Recipes by Fay Levy
- 3 pounds chicken pieces, patted dry
- 2 medium onions, minced
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup chicken stock, broth or water
- a large pinch of saffron threads (about 1/8 tsp)
- one 2-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 1/3 cups dried apricots
- 2 tbsp honey
- freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 2/3 cups couscous
- 1 tab of butter (we’re not kosher over here)
- 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
Combine chicken, onions, salt and pepper in a heavy stew pan. Cover and cook over low heat, turning chicken over occasionally, 5 minutes. Add stock, saffron, and cinnamon stick; push it into liquid. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat, turning pieces occasionally, about 35 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Add apricots and honey to sauce and cook uncovered over medium heat 15 minutes or until apricots are just tender. Transfer apricots to a heated bowl, leaving most of the onions in the casserole. Cover prunes.
Discard cinnamon stick. Cook sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes to thicken it slightly. Add nutmeg. Adjust seasoning.
Return chicken to stew pan and turn to coat pieces with sauce. Cover and heat over low heat 5 minutes.
Combine 2 cups water, oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in couscous, remove from heat, and cover. Let stand 5 minutes.
Add a tab of butter to the couscous, fluff with a fork and mound it on a heated platter. Arrange chicken around couscous and spoon sauce and apricots over chicken. Garnish with almonds.