We’ve been wanting to do this post for awhile, but like so many things, time seems to fly by and a lot of things we want to do get pushed to the back burner. It also doesn’t help that the majority of the week Kenya is in LA and Taib is in Palm Springs. However, we recently had friends over so we decided to let them try how real couscous tastes. Taib was shocked when he came to the states and saw that all we did was add boiling water to couscous and let it sit for 10 minutes. In Morocco couscous is made either in a couscousiere, which is a stovetop device that cooks couscous and stew at the same time, or it’s cooked in the oven. Instant couscous is not something that is made in Morocco, nor is preparing food quickly and without love. We wanted to serve our friends something special with typical Moroccan flavor so we decided to come up with our own original recipe and cook the couscous in the oven. It’s much faster, but just as fluffy and tasty as making it in the couscousiere, which may be a bit of a culinary indulgence if you’re trying to cut back on kitchen gadgets and devices.
Palm Springs has an amazing farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. We decided to pay it a visit and buy fresh, organic ingredients for the recipe. The market is such a great outing and adds to the fun of making a personal dish. We highly encourage you visit your local farmer’s market and support them when you can.
It’s important to remember you can have couscous with just about anything. You do not have to stick to chicken or beef. It’s delicious with veggies, cheese, or served as the base of a warm or cold salad. This recipe was created after a quick trip to the farmer’s market buying in season ingredients and with bits from the pantry. A couscous meal does not need to be complicated or overthought. Get creative and try different combinations or unusual ingredients. Chances are it will all turn out delicious.
2 large skinless chicken breasts
4 large tomatoes (the juiciest you can find)
1 medium onion (half diced and half sliced)
Handful of cremini mushroom
Handful of small heirloom tomatoes
5 heirloom carrots
Handful of golden raisins
Handful of chopped almonds
Pinch of saffron
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 TB cilantro
1 TB parsley
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 TB butter
1 tsp each of salt & pepper (or to taste)
2 c. chicken broth
1 4 oz can of tomato paste
2 c. of Bob’s Red Mill Golden Couscous
Start by making fresh tomato puree using the large tomatoes, deseed them (get rid of all that pulp) and use a grater to grate the tomato into a large bowl. Set aside. Next, combine ¾ cup tomato paste and chicken broth and mix until fully blended. Set aside.
Next prepare the chicken
Over medium heat add 1 TBS of olive oil to a Dutch oven or large sauce pan
Saute ½ diced medium onion
Add 2 large chicken breast, all the spices (cumin, turmeric, paprika, saffron, salt & pepper) and the garlic and ginger to the pan
Toss the chicken with spices for 3-5 minutes (give spices time to open up and coat the chicken)
Add the fresh tomato puree, carrots, mushrooms, sliced onion, cilantro, parsley and chicken broth/tomato paste combo and let cook for 10 minutes
Add the zucchini and heirloom cherry tomatoes to the pan and cook for another 10 minutes or when the veggies are tender (personally I don’t like mushy veggies so I take extra care to not have them overcook)
To make the couscous
Preheat oven to 350
In a 3 qt rectangular baking dish (about 9 x 13) drizzle 4 TB of olive oil over the couscous
Mix the couscous and olive oil together well and add salt and pepper as desired
Add 4 c. of water to the couscous
Cover with tinfoil
Put in oven cook for 15-18 min
Remove from oven and fluff the couscous with a spatula
Drizzle with 1 TB of olive oil
Transfer to large bowl and continue to fluff and mix together with a whisk or use your hands
Add 1 TB of lemon juice (fresh squeezed if possible) and 2 TB of butter
Mix together again and fluff with hands
Return to oven at 350 for 5 minutes
Serve chicken and veggies over couscous and enjoy!
The couscous has SO much more flavor when made this way. It’s so fluffy and soft, it practically melts in your mouth. While it does take longer than the instant couscous, it is most definitely worth it and aside from the couscousiere it’s the only way Taib will eat it.
Do you have a favorite couscous dish? We’d love for you to share it with us!