chicken couscous {ffwd}

Chicken Couscous

This has been one of the snowiest winters in my recent memory. Not only does it feel like it’s snowing endlessly, every snowstorm seems to dump another foot of snow on us. The banks on either side of our driveway and our front yard are four to six feet high. There’s really nowhere left for more snow.

During last weekend’s snow storm, I made this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken Couscous. This warm and hearty stew was the perfect fare for a snowy blowy day. First, chicken thighs are sautéed with a fragrant spice mix made from turmeric, saffron, cinnamon, ginger, and cumin. The turmeric and saffron turns everything a lovely yellow hue. Then a slew of vegetables and broth are added to the pot to simmer until everything is tender. Chick peas are the finishing touch. The stew is served over couscous, which is cooked in the lovely-colored broth from the chicken pot.

Pile of Vegetables

The recipe is meant to serve four, but we typically eat small portions of meat. That means eight pieces of chicken translate to eight servings at my house. To ensure that every bowl made a meal, I doubled the vegetables and the chick peas. The balance was perfect for us. Also, I omitted the zucchini because someone doesn’t like that particular vegetable. I had the best intentions of making some quick harissa and adding some raisins to my bowl, but we enjoyed the chicken, veggies, and broth ladled over couscous with no further adornments.

Next time I make this, I will skin, bone, and chop the chicken into chunks. Because the chicken was braised, the skin was not crispy and so wouldn’t be missed in my book. Also, I really disliked having to cut the chicken off the bone as I ate. It would have been more appealing be able to eat this with just a fork (or a spoon) and not have to deal with the knife. Maybe that’s because I served the chicken couscous in wide shallow bowls, and I feel like knifes and bowls aren’t naturally compatible.

To see what the other Doristas thought of chicken couscous, check out their links here. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

Last weekend, before the snowstorm, we saw The Second Girl at the Huntington Theatre and finally checked out Bar Boulud, which opened at the Mandarin Oriental hotel here in Boston last fall. This was our third attempt to go. We had to cancel our reservations the last two times we planned to go. Third time’s the charm, and it was well worth the wait. I adore bistro food. We started with a charcuterie platter with the chef’s choice of pâtés, sliced meats, and pickles. I think I’m glad I didn’t know exactly what was on it, because I tasted head cheese for the first time. It was delicious, though I doubt I would have willingly tried it if it had been clearly identified. It was our favorite item on the platter, so we asked what it was when we finished it off. Then we shared a salade Lyonnaise with sautéed chicken livers along with the traditional lardons and egg on top. We finished with cassoulet. Oh, and dessert. Howard had chocolate ice cream, of course, and I had a tarte Basque, garnished with brandied cherries. Oh la la!

As I write this, we’re waiting for yet another storm tomorrow. We were supposed to go to Maine, but now I’m looking forward to a weekend homebound with my sweetheart. I’ve laid in supplies for cooking a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner followed by other hearty fare for the rest of the weekend.


Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!


Posted on 13 February 2015, in Boston, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy Valentine’s Day! We enjoyed this dish over at our house!

  2. We aren’t getting hit quite as hard as you, but we have definitely run out of room for snow. I can’t even imagine where you are putting it all. Joe is up on the porch roof right now shoveling three feet of snow off – forget the driveway, the snowbanks are taller than I am… I wish we could get just a few days of 30-ish weather so that things could compress and melt off a little.
    Now, on to the important stuff. That stew was very comforting. I am with you on the chicken – we cooked our chicken apart from the stew; but I am pretty sure that I would not have enjoyed stewed chicken skin. (Deboned and cubed is the way to go!)

  3. Oh my – SO. MUCH. SNOW. Poor you but this was the perfect dish to enjoy in a snowstorm!

  4. I think of you every time I see the Boston snow reports in the news. Yes, you are even making the international news! Just crazy. Even crazier that I actually miss the snow; we rarely get much, if any, in Frankfurt.

    As for the recipe, I fully agree with you on the boneless-skinnless route and think that was part of my issue with the recipe. The skin didn’t make sense because it just came out soggy and the bones were messy to try to cut around with everything going on in the bowl.

  5. Have a happy snowy cooking valentine’s. Sounds ideal.

  6. I really enjoyed this dish. Bill not so much! I hope to get it posted this afternoon. I used skinless, boneless thighs…and they were quite good!
    I heard the news this morning, that you would be getting hit again! We have quite a bit of snow on the ground, but compared to you it’s just a mere dusting! Stay safe and warm!

  7. I can’t even imagine that snow, and I worry constantly about the boys and a granddaughter
    living Lowell. Unbelievable. I love the description of your bistro meal, so very French. My
    Mom made headcheese, ugh! I didn’t even want to touch it. That was then, who knows,
    maybe now it would taste pretty darn good. This was a great little recipe, I used boneless,
    skinless thighs and they worked well. I agree, don’t like picking bones out, even with fish.
    Have a safe weekend.

  8. I can’t contemplate what a snow storm is like – I don’t think I’d like it much. This was a hearty, warming dish to wsrm you up on the inside – loved it.

  9. Betsy, so much snow – incredible! Wish we had a bit of that winter wonderland atmosphere around here – alas, not these days. But we are in the midst of Carnival celebrations and the sun is shining, so, for now, no complaining is in order.
    Your Chicken Couscous looks wonderful and I am gald to read that you and Howard enjoyed it – we also went sans raisins and almonds and loved it!
    Stay warm,

  10. Betsy- I don’t know how you are surviving this winter. It is simply nuts what Boston has been going through. I love that Yeti guy (or girl ??) by the way – so glad to see folks are keeping their sense of humor. Well done on being organized throughout the storm and making the perfect portions of this dish, accounting for the meat to veg ratio. I especially loved to hear of your adventures when you did venture out and that French meal at the Bar Boulud sounds phenomenal. Stay warm !!

  11. I will not talk about the weather here. I’ve been impressed at how people back east are coping with the onslaught of snow.

    I went with boneless chicken thighs – I’m with you and prefer not to be dealing with bones in this sort of dish. I’m glad it was a hit for you and I’m glad you had a cosy, food-filled weekend in the snow.

  12. I am glad you enjoyed this one. We did have a good time with the Lesters and I wish you could have come too. Sounds like you need a break from the snow. See you Friday.

  13. Good idea to go with boneless.

  14. Betsy, I cannot imagine all the snow. My best friend lives in Somerville and she’s been troubled by the fact that her university courses have been canceled so often this term. Glad you all enjoyed the dish–I bet it was perfect for the weather.

  15. SO MUCH SNOW. Just unbelievable. I hope you’re managing to stay warm. Cabin fever is setting in here, and we don’t have nearly as much snow…I’m hoping to finally get around to the couscous tonight. Now I’m wishing I had bought boneless chicken.

  16. I sure wish you could send some of that snow out West – we really need it! A certain someone at my house doesn’t like zucchini either, but I still included it. That same someone also disliked cutting the chicken meat of the bone in this dish, so he would heartily agree with you on that point. All in all, I loved this dish and everyone else in my house tolerated it.

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