Spicy and Sweet Chicken and Couscous Pot

It's always fun to wander through old recipes. One cookbook that my daughter and I both made
some incredible meals from is Rachel Ray's Book of 10.  I just checked to see if it was even still available as it was published in 2009 (10 years ago), and it's still there. A sign that it has true lasting power in a tough industry.

My daughter Danielle and I have both made this one and we agree it's a keeper. But it's been awhile, so think I'll put it back on the menu this week.  Don't let the long list of ingredients put you off. It cooks very quickly and if you are experienced in the kitchen you can chop as you go along.

One thing I've found in the recipes I have tried in this book is that serving portions are generous.  So many recipes say serves for and that's 4 tiny portions.  I always end up increasing the amounts to be safe.  But it's not been needed so far with Rachel Ray's recipes.  This one said 4 servings,so  I made a little extra to serve my family of five (all flown the coop now). Yet again we had lots of extra - I shouldn't have worried!

I realized with the Internet, I have let all my amazing cookbooks languish. It's just so quick to do an online search. Perhaps it's time to pick a day once a week to pull one from the shelf and try something new.  

In the meantime - enjoy!

= = = =

Spicy and Sweet Chicken and Couscous Pot

Ingredients - Chicken and Couscous 

2 1/2 C        Chicken stock
1/2 C           Mango chutney
Salt & black pepper
2 T              Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 T           Ground coriander
1 tsp            Ground cumin
1/2 tsp         Red pepper flakes
4                  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large bite-size pieces
1                  Large onion, thinly sliced
1                  Red bell pepper, cored, seeded & thinly sliced
3                  Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1                  3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (use 1/4 of this below in sauce)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 C        Plain couscous

Ingredients Minty Cilantro Sauce - 

1/2 C           Plain yogurt
10                Fresh mint leaves, from several sprigs
1/4 C            Fresh cilantro leaves
3                  Scallions, trimmed, coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 of the piece of ginger from the 3 inch piece

Directions - Chicken and Couscous

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 2 cups of the chicken stock with the chutney and salt (if using) and pepper, bring to a bubble, and then turn down the heat to low to keep warm.

Heat a large skillet, add oil. Once the oil is hot add the coriander, cumin and red pepper flakes and "toast" the spices, stirring constantly for about 15 seconds. Add the chicken and toss it in the spices until well coated. Spread the chicken out in an even layer and season with salt (if using) and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes and then add the onions, red bell pepper, garlic and three fourths of the grated ginger. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken stock and continue to cook until almost all of the liquids have evaporated, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Scoot the chicken and veggies to the sides of the skillet, creating a crater in the center of the pan. Add the chicken stock-chutney mixture and the lemon zest and juice, bring up to a bubble and then add the couscous to the crater. Give the skillet a shake to get the couscous to settle into the liquids but still try to keep it in the crater. Use the back of a spoon to spread it out into the liquids if the shaking doesn't do the trick. Cover it with a tight fitting lid or with a piece of aluminum foil (I put foil on first and then the lid) to hold in the steam. Turn off the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes, to cook the couscous.

To serve, mix the couscous with the chicken and veggies and spoon into bowls. If you are making the minty, cilantro sauce drizzle over the chicken and couscous.

Directions - Minty Cilantro Sauce

(Note - for some reason I wasn't super big on this sauce so ended up serving the couscous without it. It was delish on it's own. So use your own judgment. Everyone's tastes are unique. I will probably try it again to make sure I did it right and still feel the same.)
In a blender combine the yogurt, mint, cilantro, scallions, lime juice, the remaining grated ginger, and a small splash of water. Turn the blender on and puree until the mixture is smooth. Add more water if necessary. Season the sauce with a little salt & pepper. Drizzle over chicken and couscous.

Interested in this cookbook? It's available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.ca/Rachael-Rays-Book-10-Recipes/dp/0307383202