Ras-el-hanout chicken with a spicy couscous – either a perfect lunch choice or quick midweek dinner!
Michelle and I were sat one day debating couscous of all things. Turns out I love it, however Michelle said that she tires of it easily. Discussions continued and I told her my favourite way to serve it was heavily spiced, usually with ras-el-hanout (not any great shock there to anyone who knows me). However, as Michelle said she has never cooked a spiced up version I volunteered to cook it for her sometime.
We were blogging today and had quite a lot to get through so lunch needed to be quick and I have never been one for a daily dose of sandwiches (which is why my blogging buddy enjoys lunch at my house). Inspiration hit as I recalled our conversation a couple of weeks ago – spicy couscous for lunch.
It was served it with ras-el-hanout spiced chicken (which my youngest daughter – the fussy one – would eat on a daily basis if I let her) and a generous handful of pomegranate seeds. Warm spices, the sweetness of the peppers and the burst of juice from the pomegranate, what more do you want at lunchtime? Unless of course you can wash it down with a nice crisp glass of white wine – alas not today with the school run to factor in!
ras-el-hanout chicken with spicy couscous
- 1 pomegranate (seeds removed)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 50g butter (split into 2 x 25g sticks)
- 2 banana shallots (finely chopped)
- 1 red pepper (finely diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 " cinnamon stick
- 2 cardamon pods (seeds only - remove the husk)
- 1 heaped tsp coriander seeds
- 1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
- 1 level tsp cumin seeds
- 2-4 small dried chillies (add to your own taste)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp wine vinegar
- 200g couscous
- 1 vegetable stock pot
- 450 ml water
- 2 chicken breasts (sliced)
- 1 heaped tsp ras el hanout spice blend
- 1 tbsp olive oil
|Heat the olive oil and half the butter in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat, add the vegetables and saute gently for 5 minutes. The vegetables should soften but not colour. |
|Place the dried spices and chillies for the couscous in a pestle and mortar along with the salt and grind down to a powder. Add the spice blend to the saucepan along with the vegetables and continue to saute for a further 5 minutes. Lower the heat and add the wine vinegar to the pan, stirring to combine. Leave this to cook away for a further 5 minutes. |
|While the vegetables and spices are cooking place the olive oil and ras el hanout spice into a bowl and mix to combine. Add the chicken and stir well to coat. (You can marinade the chicken for longer if you have time). Set aside until you are ready to cook. |
|Once the vegetables and spices are ready add the couscous, the stock pot or cube and 450ml of boiling water. Taking the pan off the heat, stir well to combine, place on the pan lid and set aside to allow the water to be absorbed. |
|Meanwhile heat up a non stick frying pan and once hot add the chicken and the oily marinade. Stir fry the chicken until coloured and cooked through. |
|Just before serving fork the remaining half of the butter through the couscous to separate the grains. |
|Serve the couscous in warm bowls with the chicken on top, as well as a generous helping of pomegranate seeds. |
This dish is lovely served hot but is equally nice served cold as a salad.
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