Monday, September 15, 2008
Tonight I felt like having a Moroccan tagine. But I don’t actually own a tagine. See, I really don’t own every type of cookware known to man, despite what my husband may think. I made do without. The result was still satisfying and tasty, and the aroma filling the house was absolutely intoxicating.
Spiced Couscous with Chicken & Zucchini
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, diced
½ cup sliced green onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons pure chile powder
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cumin
1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
3 ½ cups chicken broth
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups couscous
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Heat a large, heavy pot over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken and cook without disturbing for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it releases from the pan and is crusty and brown. Using tongs, turn the chicken and continue to cook over high heat another 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown.* Add the zucchini and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft. Add the green onions, garlic, ginger, coriander, chile powder, cumin, and cinnamon and stir for a minute or so until fragrant. Add the broth and bell pepper, season to taste with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the couscous, and let stand, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the couscous is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork, arrange on individual plates, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve immediately.
Serves 4. For an even more colorful dish, substitute a yellow squash for one of the zucchini. And, if you like, feel free to toss in a small handful of pine nuts and/or dried fruit when adding the broth.
*Searing the chicken in this manner adds tons of flavor to the finished dish. For everything you ever wanted to know about searing, plus dozens of fabulous searing recipes, look for my book Seared to Perfection in stores in the fall of 2010.