Friday 31 July 2015

Couscous with vegetables, chicken and almonds

15 minutes to prepare Serves 4

'u cuscusu


You know the couscous you've tasted so far, the one you buy at the grocery store with the package written in orange and yellow, the mosque and the exotic landscape in the background? Yes? Well, forget it.
We have just been in Sicily, at San Vito Lo Capo, a lovely, maritime town close to Trapani which is famous for couscous. The couscous prepared here is not made of precooked grains, the wheat bran is instead steamed according to tradition; local couscous dishes include not only meat and vegetables, but also fish, dry fruit and legumes: if you ask me, it is the best couscous in the world!

In today's recipe, we will try to bring back home some of those amazing tastes. Due to the lack of time in our daily life, we will use the precooked couscous, as always. Nevertheless, cinnamon, almonds, peppers will surprise our taste buds by creating a spicy, unexpected symphony of flavors. The recipe takes inspiration from the one already on Cucchiaio website. Keep the wooden spoon at your fingertips!

Here are ingredients for the 4-serving recipe:


280 g couscous
12 ripe tomatoes
300 g green beans
4 green peppers
400 g chicken fillets
100 g almonds
2 carrots
2 onions
EVO oil
salt and pepper
cinnamon powder
dry chilli pepper

  1. Place 400 ml of cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil and add a pinch of salt
  2. Put the couscous in a bowl. Pour the hot water over it. Let the couscous to swell for 10 minutes, covered by a lid. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and freshly ground pepper
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of EVO oil to the couscous. As couscous grains tend to bind together in the cooking process, fluff them with a fork
  4. Toast the almonds in a pan with no seasoning
  5. Braise chopped onions in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of EVO oil and saltwash, clean, dice carrots and peppers and add them to the onions
  6. Wash and clean tomatoes and green peppers. Cut tomatoes into 4 pieces and the beans lengthwise into 3 cm pieces
  7. After 20 minutes since carrots and peppers are being cooked, add both tomatoes and beans to the vegetables and let them cook for 5 minutes. At this point, add the couscous grains and toast everything together on medium heat. Season with chopped dry chilli pepper and stir to mix
  8. Meanwhile, braise the chicken cut into pieces with 1 tablespoon of EVO oil and salt. Let it to cook over high heat for a few minutes, then add freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt
  9. Place one ladle of couscous with vegetables at the center of each serving plate. Lay around chicken and toasted almonds. Serve immediately!

Nutrition Facts are listed for this recipe in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

Kitāb al-tabīkh fī al-Maghrib wa'l-Āndalus - Cookbook of the Maghrib and Andalusia

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