Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tangy chicken "stew" with couscous

Most stews are heavy and hearty, and that's why this is "stew" in quotation marks. It's considerably lighter, with a thinner sauce than most stews have. I didn't want to make a full-on stew, but since the weather is getting cooler, I wanted something with a little more substance than my usual summer meals. The vinegar and lemon juice give the broth a nice tart and tangy flavor. Couscous tends to soak up liquids like a sponge, which is why it's the starch of choice here; the sauce gets absorbed into the couscous, giving the tiny pasta lots of flavor. However, I have met people who don't like couscous (namely my mother), so rice would work as well.

Tangy chicken "stew" with couscous
serves 4

For the couscous:
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked couscous

Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Set aside while making the rest of the dish.

For the stew:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into large bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 red onion, roughly chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or deep skillet. Add the chicken, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Allow chicken to brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Add the carrots and onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, vinegar, lemon zest, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8 minutes.

Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Serve the chicken mixture in bowls over the couscous.

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