Moroccan Chicken Couscous
The writers for the Back Burner are celebrating all that is “mom” this week. I tossed around different approaches of how to honor my mother in a meaty sort of way. I won’t lie it was a bit challenging. There is not a meaty recipe in my collection that makes me think of mom, so I took another approach.
If, I was lucky enough to be cooking for my mom on this very special day, I would take her to Morocco by making one of my favorite standby recipes. I would have mom sit down at the kitchen counter, pour her a glass of chilled Rose, give her a plate of nibbles, and I would make her an intimate dinner of Moroccan Chicken Couscous.
I love making this hearty but light recipe using whatever vegetables are in season. In the winter, I will use chunks of butternut squash. And in the summer, I have used green beans, fresh tomatoes, and even corn. The one ingredient I never change is using meaty chicken thighs. I prefer to use chicken thighs as they have more flavor and are moist. White meat tends to dry out even when cooked with a broth. We love chick peas so I always include them in the recipe no matter which season it is.
This recipe is very simple to make, and you can have a complete meal on the table in thirty minutes. After browning the chicken thighs in a little olive oil, I lightly cook the vegetables in the drippings to coat them with all of the great flavors, and then I let everything simmer with some stock. While the chicken and vegetables are forming the perfect marriage, I cook the couscous. It is that simple.
To make mom’s special dinner complete, I would serve this dish with a salad of arugula, roasted beets, pistachios and a little feta, simply tossed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and big chunks of warm bread.