Category Archives: Exotic

Chicken Couscous

Hello my food lovers,

Here we are for a new recipe, which I am pretty sure will take you on a trip to the beautiful and exotic Morocco. I know I had that feeling when cooking this dish 😉
The smell of all those spices took me instantly into the 1001 nights.

Please don’t let this ingredient list scare you to give this recipe a try. It’s more than worth it and it will take no effort from you as the most time that this recipe will take is to simmer it on low heat.
I didn’t use harissa in this dish as I have a kid eating with us and he loves couscous so much. But you can always add it to your plate separately while eating.
All the other spices will give you the exotic touch this dish needs to take you on a trip, without making your dish spicy hot.

Ingredients for 6:

– 1,5 kg chicken (you can mix chicken breast, drumsticks, wings)
– 600 gr middle grain couscous
– 2 zucchini
– 3 paprika (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green)
– 6 turnip (NL = rapen – FR = navets)
– 6 carrots
– 2 big onions
– 4 shallots
– 6 tomatoes
– 1 can of tomato cubes (+/- 400 gr)
– 500 gr chickpeas
– 2 tablespoons of cumin
– 2 tablespoons of paprika spice
– 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
– 2 tablespoons of ras el hanout
– Saffron
– half a plant of coriander
– half a plant of parsley
– 2,5 cubes of vegetable stock
– 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of butter
– salt and pepper
– 2l water

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Let’s start this amazing journey together by cutting all the veggies (carrots, zucchini, paprika, shallots, turnip, tomatoes) into big chunks as you will see on the following picture. Basically you can cut them as big as you want, but make sure not to cut them to small otherwise you need to reduce the cooking time. Cut the onions into small cubes.

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Put 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter to heat. Grill the chicken in a big pan at the maximum heat until it turns golden brown. Take the chicken out of the pan and preserve aside.

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Once the chicken is grilled to perfection, put the onion cubes into the pan. After 1 minute stirring add the spices to the onions. I add the spices at this stage because they will release their flavors, more than adding them in the sauce. As you already may know the African cuisine is all about spices and flavors. So please don’t be scared to use spices and to experiment!
At this stage the spices will be sticking in the pan. After another minute add the tomato cubes and the fresh tomatoes into the pan.
While waiting and stirring, put as much saffron flowers as you want into a small bowl and add hot water on it to loosen the flavor. Add this mixture into the pan.

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Leave it to simmer for 5 minutes but keep stirring from time to time. The tomato should be a smooth paste at this time (see picture below).

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Now it’s time to make the vegetable stock. Just add the stock cubes to 500 ml hot water and it’s ready to use.
At this stage we will add the veggies to the tomato mixture. For this we will have to add the veggies which need the most cooking time first… to start with the carrots cooking for about 5 minutes. When the sauce starts to stick in the pan, you can add some of the vegetable stock into the pan, let’s say about 100 ml. After 5 minutes you can add the turnip for another 3 minutes and then add the other veggies (except the chickpeas) into the pan at the same time. As you keep adding the veggies you will notice the tomato starts to stick to the pan, keep adding the stock (100 ml at the time) every time you feel that the tomato starts to stick, until after all the veggies are added the stock is completely used as well.

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Leave these vegetables to simmer for 5 minutes and then add the chickpeas. Stir and add 1 liter hot water in the pan. Add your chicken in the pan, cover and let it simmer for about 20 minutes on low heat. At this stage you might as well add 50 gr of dried raisins to sweeten it.

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About 5 minutes before the end of the simmering, take a large bowl and put 600 gr middle grain couscous in there. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of butter and half a tablespoon of ras el hanout into the bowl as well. Now take 600 gr boiling water and dilute half a cube of vegetable stock into the water. Pull the diluted stock on the couscous and stir until the water is all absorbed by the couscous. Put the bowl in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes.
I know this isn’t the traditional way of making a real traditional couscous, but sometimes it needs to go fast. If someone would be interested in the traditional recipe of making couscous, please hit me and I’ll help you further with that aspect.

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Now it’s time to serve this exotic, savory and spicy dish on a plate and share with your loved ones. To give it the finishing touch sprinkle the dish with the coriander and parsley. Add some slices of lemon aside to give it that freshness.
You will be so proud of what you have accomplished by the expression on the faces of the people around you. I know we did enjoy 😉

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Be inspired and stay blessed!

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