Introducing Part 1 of my ‘Inspiring Dinner Party Solutions’; Delicious Roast Chicken Couscous with Fresh Herbs and Pomegranate♥ I feel compelled to introduce this mini series of simple yet impressive dishes after a succession of dinner party blunders last weekend! I was throwing a reunion dinner for four of my oldest and dearest friends from school, girls that would have been entirely satisfied with no food whatsoever as long as the wine and bubbly flowed from the kitchen like the source of the Rio Grande! In an effort to test my culinary ability, I choose delectable yet laborious dishes that contained too many elements and demanded far too much time and precision. Most of the day was spent toiling in the kitchen rolling pasta to a wafer thin consistency and whipping egg whites into stiff white peaks while still making tea and conversations! I was frazzled from beginning to end; not good if you’re the host.
I’m hoping to conspire against traditional dinner party tedium and create recipes that are simple and impressive, clean and brilliant and most importantly; won’t give the chef an aneurism before service! My Delicious Roast Chicken Couscous with Fresh Herbs and Pomegranate is versatile, may be served as a starter or a main, is full of flavor and texture, tastes sweet and exotic, and most importantly, is quick to prepare. It is guaranteed to satisfy the family, impress the guests and not retain the chef in the kitchen for anymore then 40 minutes!
If you’ve never tried couscous before then I highly recommend trying this recipe. Couscous is made of crushed durum wheat semolina and is among the healthiest grain-based products in the world. Originally found in North Africa, it is a staple food throughout Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia and is fast becoming a popular alternative to pasta and rice in Western Europe. Its quick to prepare and extremely versatile, lending itself well to savory and sweet ingredients. The infusion of pomegranate juice and seeds in this recipe cut through the eastern spices with a sweet explosion, which compliment the fresh mint, parsley and coriander beautifully.Couscous its a nutritious grain, containing twice as much riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate as pasta and four times as much thiamine and pantothenic acid. Unfortunately it has a relatively high Glycemic load compared to quinoa and brown basmati rice, but by adding walnuts to the recipe I have actually reduce the GI of the entire dish; very clever! My new kitchen etiquette demands food that is simple and its preparation fast, this dish covers both; Dig in folk’s xx
Recipe creation: Caroline Murray
Food styling and photography: Caroline Murray
Prep/cooking time: 40 minutes
♥ Delicious Roast Chicken Couscous with Fresh Herbs and Pomegranate
- 4 chicken breasts
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp peppercorns
- 300g couscous
- 350ml hot chicken stock
- 100g walnuts, lightly toasted
- 1 pomegranate
- large handful of mint leaves, flat leaf parsley and coriander, roughly chopped
- Dry fry the coriander, cumin and peppercorn in a pan for 2 minutes or until toasted.
- Place in a pestle and mortar and grind to release the flavours.
- Add the ground seeds to the olive oil and lemon juice, season with a good pinch of salt.
- Rub the marinade all over the chicken breasts and leave to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Meanwhile, put the couscous in a bowl and pour over the hot stock. After 10 minutes or when the stock is fully absorbs, fluff up the couscous and leave to cool.
- Place the chicken in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and slice.
- Drizzle any remaining cooking juice from the roasting tin and onto the couscous and pile the chicken on top.
- Add the walnuts and mixed herbs.
- Half the pomegranate and squeeze the juice and the seeds onto the couscous
- drizzle with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and serve.
- Rainbow Couscous (icanhascook.wordpress.com)
- Almond Artichoke Summer Couscous from Picky Palate (blogher.com)