This dish was inspired by one I read about while on our ski vacation in February. As you know, we are BIG fans of braises here at Oui, Chef, and with the resurgence of cold weather here in the northeast (it was 17 ℉ with the wind chill this morning….no, I'm not kidding!), it seemed the perfect time to share this heart warming recipe with you all.
The ingredient list looks rather daunting for this one, I know, but don't let it scare you. Most of it is stuff you probably already have in the pantry, and if not, is easy to come by. This meal has a great depth of flavor brought from the rich mix of spices, and the umami goodness of the tomatoes. The lemon and orange add a light sweetness to the whole affair that will have you all fighting for seconds.
If you have any couscous and sauce left-over, toss it all together in a Tupperware container (as we did) and use it either as a side dish later in the week, or for a great re-heated vegetarian lunch one day. I'm using the rest of our left-over "tomato couscous" as a side with the roasted pork tenderloin we're having for dinner tonight….I can't wait!
Cheers – Steve
Spiced Orange Chicken with Cinnamon Couscous
for the chicken:
- 6 chicken thighs
- 6 chicken drumsticks
- 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 cup orange juice
- zest from one orange, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (San Marzanos are preferred)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 3-4 handfuls of baby arugula
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (for garnish)
- freshly minced parsley (for garnish)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
for the couscous:
- 1 1/4 cups water or chicken stock
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup couscous
- Heat your oven to 325℉.
- Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Heat a fine slick of EVOO in the bottom of a large dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, and working in batches, sear the chicken pieces on both sides until well browned, then remove to a platter.
- Pour off excess fat, then add the onions to the pan and drop the heat a touch. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions are a nice, rich brown. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stir in the cumin, cumin seeds, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne and orange zest. Cook until very fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the orange and lemon juices and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, garbanzos and chicken stock and stir to incorporate. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot, setting the pieces down into the tomato mix, cover and place the pot into the oven until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about an hour.
- Remove the pot from the oven, take off the lid and remove the chicken to a platter, tent with foil to keep warm. Place the pot over a medium-high burner and bring the sauce to a boil, reducing it until it achieves a nice, thick consistency. When sufficiently reduced, toss in the arugula and stir until it wilts into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with the chicken and cinnamon couscous.
- While the chicken is resting and the sauce is reducing, prepare the couscous by placing the water (or stock), the salt, cinnamon, butter and raisins in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, remove the pan from heat and cover. Let rest for 5 minutes, then add the pistachios, fluff the couscous with a fork and serve.