Recipe adapted from Michael's Genuine Food: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat, owner of Michael's Genuine.
HAPPY 200 TO US!
Since November 2009, we have been blogging as Friends Food Family. Today is our 200th blog post which is a huge milestone for us. Can you imagine? We have made 200 different recipes over the past 16 months. Our family doesn't usually get to taste the same dish twice...well sometimes. But really, I don't think anyone is complaining.
What I love about our 200th recipe is that we are trying to step out of our comfort zone. Since Christmas, we have been trying some French recipes and the next two blogs will have recipes with a Middle Eastern flair. (Cinnamon, mint, cilantro; it sounds like an odd combination but trust me, it's really delicious.) We have also been making different breads with yeast and learning how to make pie crust from scratch.
Jeff and I both receive recipes from the Tasting Table. They arrive daily and give us ideas for dinner especially when there is chicken or beef in the refrigerator and we are not sure what we are making for dinner. He received this Braised Chicken with Apricots, Olives and Herbed Couscous recipe and figured we had everything at home but the fresh mint and cilantro. A quick trip to the grocery store on the way home and we were ready to go. This was going to be something totally different.
As Jeff started dinner, the more ingredients he incorporated the better the house smelled. Even though I'm not a green olive fan, I couldn't wait to try this dish. The worse part was having to wait an hour for the chicken to bake.
The meal was delicious. The chicken thighs were tender and the sauce was sweet with a hint of sour. The couscous was incredible with the mint, scallions and cilantro. It complemented the chicken dish nicely. Even my fussiest eaters returned for seconds.
It's funny with all the meals we have cooked, everyone has learned to taste a little of everything...to the amazement of actually enjoying something new.
When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new? The results can be very rewarding.
¼ cup of canola oil
½ cup of all-purpose flour
4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 12)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1½ cups of pitted green olives
1 cup of dried apricots
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3 cups of chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 cup of fresh orange juice
1 cup of couscous
6 scallions, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped mint leaves
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 375° and arrange a rack in the center.
In a Dutch oven or large ovenproof pot, warm the oil over high heat. Spread the flour on a large, shallow plate. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken lightly in the flour, tapping off the excess. Working in batches, sear the chicken until browned all over, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining chicken.
Add the carrots, onion and celery to the drippings in the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 of teaspoon pepper and the olives, apricots, cinnamon and stock. Add the chicken and arrange so the thighs are covered with liquid. Pour any drippings on the platter into the pot. Bring to a boil, then
cover and bake for 1 hour or until the chicken is fork tender.
In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice, ½ cup of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the couscous and cover. Let stand until the couscous is soft, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the scallions with the cilantro and mint.
Remove the chicken from the oven and stir in the butter until melted. Transfer the couscous to a serving bowl and fluff with a fork. Fold in half the scallion mixture. Sprinkle the remaining scallion mixture over the braised chicken and serve immediately. Serves 6.