Friday, October 15, 2010

Classic Moroccan Chicken and Vegetable Couscous, from AMA's Family Health Cookbook


  1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 3/4 lbs boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut in rough 2-inch cubes
  3. 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  5. 1 large onion, chopped
  6. 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  7. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon curry powder
  9. 6 cups defatted lower-sodium chicken broth
  10. 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  11. 1 pound slender carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch lengths
  12. 3/4 pound white turnips, peeled and cut in 2-inch chunks
  13. 1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  14. 1 slender zucchini, cut in 1-inch slices
  15. 1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  16. 1 1/2 cups pitted prunes
  17. 1 cup golden raisins
  18. 3 cups raw couscous
  19. 1/3 cup commercial harissa or 1 cup Moroccan Hot Pepper Sauce
  1. Heat the oil in a very large, preferably nonstick skillet with a lid or in a Dutch oven. Season the chicken with the 3/4 teaspoon of salt and the cayenne and cook over medium heat until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pan.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth, cinnamon sticks, carrots and turnips. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes to partially cook the vegetables.
  3. Add the chickpeas, zucchini, red pepper, prunes, and raisins. Return the chicken to the stew and simmer uncovered over medium heat until the vegetables are tender and the chicken no longer looks pink in the center, about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. (The recipe can be made several hours ahead to this point and refrigerated. Reheat gently before serving.)
  4. For the couscous, bring 4 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and stir in the uncooked couscous. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand until the couscous is tender and the liquid is absorved, 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Spoon out 1/2 cup of the stew liquid and blend it with the harissa.
  6. Mound the cooked couscous in the center of a large, rimmed platter or on individual rimmed plates or shallow soup bowls. Spoon the chicken and vegetables around the outside of the couscous and ladle the broth over them. Pass additional hot sauce at the table.