Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dinner on the Farm - Chicken CousCous

Many years ago my mother-in-law drove from Ft. Worth, Texas to our home in San Antonio, Texas to cook this meal. Her trip of course wasn't just to cook for us but it was always a delight when she did. She passed last year and I miss her and her cooking although I was blessed to have learned several recipes and tips and tricks from her over the years including how to peel boiled eggs, a trick that her mother-in-law taught her.

Mom figured out this recipe after going to a catered reception after a wedding. She was so impressed with this dish that she called the caterer. Of course they didn't give her the recipe but she had a way with words to ask about ingredients and then literally picked apart a serving that she had taken home. She was good with things like that.

So mom, if you are reading this blog, this is your Chicken CousCous, or at least as close as I could come to yours.

CousCous is a pasta that originated in Algeria or Morrocco depending on who you ask. Widely used as a staple dish much like rice is in the Orient it is available at your local grocer. I bet you have walked right past it many times.

The most popular is from the company Near East and comes in a wide variety of flavors. Sometimes I buy it in bulk at a very reduced price on Amazon.com. The couscous from Amazon.com is an African variety but you cannot tell the difference. Today I found a whole grain version at my supermarket packaged by the Near East company and this is what I used in my dish tonight.

CousCous has a very mild flavor much like a cross between rice and pasta and can be eaten by itself or mixed in with meat and veggies to replace pasta or rice.

Chicken CousCous

1 box Near East CousCous
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts chopped into 1" pieces
1 c. onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 6oz bag fresh spinach
1/2 jar of Capers (3.5 oz jar)
1/3 c. lemon juice

Prepare the Near East CousCous as per the instructions on the package except do not add in the seasoning pack. You want just the plain, cooked CousCous not a flavored version. Simply boil the prescribed amount of water and stir in the CousCous then turn off the heat. It cooks like instant rice. Simple.

Saute the onion, garlic and chicken breasts in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium low heat until chicken is tender. Slowly add in the fresh spinach and stir until the spinach wilts. Add in the capers and the lemon juice. Let this mixture simmer 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Add the couscous to the cooked chicken and spinach and stir. Let this sit for 4-5 minutes so that the CousCous can soak up the liquid in the pan.

Serve.

So lets look at what we have. Lean chicken, whole grain couscous and fresh spinach with very little salt other that what the capers bring to the dish. This taste so amazing that your family will think you went to a culinary arts academy and it will really impress your friends.

Enjoy.....

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