On Weeknight Dinners [mediterranean chicken stew with cinnamon couscous]

There are few things in life I’m more wary (warier? I like the sound of that) of than a recipe that contains the words simple or easy in the title.  This chicken stew is not that.  It claims to be a weeknight dinner, and I think that’s an adjective I can get behind in my dinner descriptions.  While “simple” and “easy” recipes often skips steps, or entire ingredients, to save time, that also often leaves them lacking in flavor or substance.  But a “weeknight” dinner is most likely both simple and easy, without having to be directly advertised as such.

Did I just overthink that?

I overthink almost everything.

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I made this weeknight dinner from The Kitchn on a weekend, which is good, because while I’m fairly confident in my ability to put dinner on the table on a weeknight, I’m certain I can do it on the weekends.  I wanted to add toasted almonds, but otherwise, it’s a great dinner, and a real departure from our usual standbys (read: PASTA).  I’d make the cinnamon couscous on its own, should I find myself alone for a meal in the future.  That’s the stuff dreams are made of.

To make Mediterranean Chicken Stew with Cinnamon Couscous, you will need:

For the chicken stew:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, in puree
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, cut into bite sized pieces, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (I left this out because I hate olives)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the cinnamon couscous:

  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (10-ounce) box plain, quick-cooking couscous
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (throw some zest in if you’re using juice from a real, live orange)

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and oregano, cook for one minute while stirring. Pour in crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken broth, bay leaves, and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add chicken, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
For couscous, heat chicken broth, oil, and salt until boiling. Add couscous and raisins, stir, remove from heat and cover. Let rest until all liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork, add cinnamon and orange juice. Use fork to mix until combined. Set aside.
Remove stew from heat. Add olives and lemon juice. Serve hot over couscous.

3 thoughts on “On Weeknight Dinners [mediterranean chicken stew with cinnamon couscous]

  1. This reminds me of one of my favorite recipes that I learned living in Australia. It’s definitely not a weekday meal, but one day, when you feel like spending the day in the kitchen again, you should try it out!

    While I was on holiday earlier this year, a patch of cooler weather called for hearty fare. This chicken braise was the result.

    2 tsp sea salt
    2 tsp ground cumin
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
    1 tsp ground turmeric
    size 14-16 free-range chicken, cut into 8 pieces
    100ml olive oil
    2 brown onions, thickly sliced
    100g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
    5 cloves garlic, bruised with the back of a knife
    2 small red chillies, split
    2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    2 pinches saffron threads
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    5 sprigs thyme
    1 lemon, juiced and zest finely grated
    2 tbsp honey
    100g currants
    2 tbsp vegetable stock powder
    1/2 bunch coriander leaves
    cooked couscous or rice, to serve

    Combine salt, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric in a large plastic bag.
    Add chicken pieces and shake to coat.

    Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onions, ginger, garlic and chillies to pan and cook for 3 minutes, adding a little more oil, if necessary. Add tomatoes, saffron, cumin seeds and thyme and cook for 2 minutes.

    Return chicken to pan and add lemon juice and zest, honey, currants, stock powder and enough water to just cover chicken. Cover with a lid and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced. Stir in coriander. Serve with couscous or rice. Serves 4

    -c/o Karen Martini

  2. Pingback: Meal Planning – For a Week | a glass of milk

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