Ras el hanout chicken with a spicy couscous makes a perfect lunch dish or a quick and easy mid-week dinner. Ideal for those who enjoy a hit of spice.
A few weeks ago Michelle and I were sat debating the merits of couscous. Turns out I love it, however Michelle said that she tires of it very easily. My favourite way to serve couscous is heavily spiced which is no great shock to anyone who knows me. Michelle said she has never cooked a spiced up version before so 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. 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. So ras el hanout chicken with couscous for lunch.
What is ras el hanout?
Ras el hanout is simply a spice blend, originating from North Africa. Ras el hanout chicken with couscous is a dish that appears weekly in my house. Any dish containing the North African spice blend ras el hanout is a winner with my family. It is not a fiery blend, more aromatic. The spices used are warmer spices including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Making this an ideal family friendly spice blend, a great one for introducing kids to spice.
Try Ras el hanout chicken and top the couscous with a generous handful of pomegranate seeds. Warm spices, the sweetness of the peppers and the burst of juice from the pomegranate. Does lunchtime get any better? 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.
Additional recipe suggestions:
Looking for inspiration for feeding the family mid week, then take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Family Dinners. Full of useful hints, tips and recipes.
Ras el hanout chicken & spicy couscous
- 1 pomegranate - seeds removed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 50 g 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
- 200 g 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.
We’ve linked this recipe up to the Cook Blog Share group, make sure you check it out for more great recipe ideas from fellow bloggers.