2015/02/13

Now what? (French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken Couscous)

So...my 19-year old decided about a month ago that she is now a vegetarian.

Oh wait, let's back up... my VERY FUSSY 19-year old decided suddenly that she is now a vegetarian.

Now what?

Her impromptu decision could have proven a little challenging considering that the star of this week's dish is...chicken; but with a little bit of improvisation the challenge became an opportunity.



Chicken couscous is a stew-like dish of braised chicken, winter vegetables and couscous simmered in a spicy broth of North African influence. Obviously, that was not going to work.

Here is how it went down - ginger paste, lemongrass, turmeric, ground cinnamon, garlic and salt and pepper were worked into a paste and smeared on to a couple of bone-in chicken breasts. The chicken was given a brief saute (just enough to add a little color to the skin) and then were placed into the oven to finish cooking.

While the chicken was baking, more paste and butter were warmed up in the bottom of a large pot. Once the butter melted leeks, small white onions, celery, carrots and turnips were sauteed in the butter/ spice mixture just until they started to pick up some color. A few cups of vegetable stock were added to the pot and everything was simmered until tender. Zucchini and cooked chickpeas were added near the end of the cooking time.

The Dude and I had the chicken and vegetable mixture with a side of Trader Joe's Harvest Grains Blend (love that mix) and a spicy red pepper and garlic paste that I picked up at a local market. The spicy crispy chicken skin stole the show. Culinary Kid enjoyed hers sans chicken (and gobbled up all the leftovers).

Not following the recipe totally worked in our favor this week.

Word.

XOXO

This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. One bloggers version of Dorie's chicken couscous can be found here.

21 comments:

  1. That looks great Cher! And I'll be honest - my favourite type of couscous is veggie too!

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  2. I didn't follow the recipe either after the tagine that Bill was not too fond of. I'll share it next week---lobster won't fly with him either!

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    1. I followed the directions to the T, but I do love that color of your baked chicken.

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  4. This was a great dish for a cold winter evening, loved by all. Have a great weekend and keep warm.

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  5. I'm waiting for my daughter to announce the same thing.. then I can try to cook without milk, wheat, added sugar, nuts and meat! That would cover my whole family's preferences and allergies. I love that you made a rub...make sense to have crisp chicken...what's the sense of browning if you are just going to get the skin wet.. well done.

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  6. I'd enjoy this one just as much sans chicken. I doubled the vegetables. I was introduced to the Harvest Grain Mix by Kathy's blog. Love it! Hope you're staying warm and safe. Can't believe all the snow. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  7. It was good, wasn't it. Good luck with the vegetaraian cooking adventures - I look forward to seeing your creations for the Culinary Kid.

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  8. A good couscous always works well, it is a favourite dinner of mine :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  9. I really enjoyed this one, however I have a very picky eater who lives in my house…not his favorite! Love how you accommodated everyone in your family! Both versions sound delicious…I could easily forgo the chicken! That Harvest Grain Mix from Trader Joe’s is sooo good!
    Hope you had a great Valentines Day! Stay warm and safe!

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  10. You. Are.A.Great.Mom. LOL- there is never a dull moment, eh. Even when it is just chicken and couscous. Great job for making everyone happy - well played indeed :)

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  11. A vegetarian, huh. Rollin' with what comes your way, huh, Cher? Last year, Emma, 13, announced she was a Vegetarian. Thus, Grandma purchased River Cottage Veg and, with Andrea's help, is making some good vegetarian stuff. The Culinary Kid might enjoy cooking from that cookbook. You are a more innovative cook than I so you'll be able to make any recipe work for you two and her. I loved this dish also.

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  12. Maybe that is the problem for me, I followed the recipe. Your version sounds much better with more flavor. Have a great week.

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  13. That was a great solution! I just decided to make some for myself, since Kevin was craving his favourite gluten-free, vegan pizza. (Can you tell Vancouver has hippie-ish roots?)

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  14. I agree the color of your chicken is great- way better than mine!

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  15. I agree, I love the color of your chicken- looks great

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  16. Great looking dish! Looks delicious!

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  17. Dear Cher, you are a wonderful mum indeed - your Chicken Couscous looks colorful and delicious - the red pepper and garlic paste sounds pretty tempting - the "spice heads" in our house would have loved to have a taste of that too, I am sure.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week,
    Andrea

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  18. Cher, the chicken couscous looks great! I agree that you are very nice to accommodate your daughter's new-found vegetarianism: I figure that's how my 2-year-old will spite us when she's older, just to drive me nuts. Glad you all enjoyed it so much!

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  19. How nice of you! I'm so glad you were able to turn this into a meal that you all loved. I don't eat red meat and some people (like my mother-in-law!), find it impossible to make any accommodations for me at all.

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