Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chicken and couscous

After my good results with the sardine rillettes, I decided to give Dorie another go, this time with her chicken and couscous.

Although I'm not always in love with couscous--I sometimes find it a little mushy, lacking the bit of resistance I prefer in perfectly cooked pasta or rice--the recipe appealed to me, largely for its method. I like doing the following things: chopping up vegetables; browning chicken; and then letting the chicken simmer in broth and its own savory juices until tender. I am also a fan of dishes that come together in one (ok, two) pots.

This was indeed a pleasure to make. And it turned out fairly flavorful, thought not as much as you might think, with the cumin, ginger (fresh and powdered), turmeric, saffron, and cinnamon. It looked hearty, with homey chunks of carrot, celery, leek, zucchini, and turnip running through it. Chickpeas gave it a little delicacy, and garnished with golden raisins, it had a nice sweet balance.

It wasn't overwhelmingly photogenic, but stews usually aren't.

But somehow, although there was nothing technically wrong with this dish, I wouldn't make it again. After my rip-roaring start with Dorie's book, I was slowed in my tracks.

The recipe also confirmed that I don't love couscous, nor do I love chickpeas --both opinions I suspected prior to making the dish.  

What a moron, you're thinking, she could have glanced at the ingredient list and known she wouldn't like it. True. I am a moron. Anyone who knows me could tell you that. But not because of giving the recipe a go. I like to re-try things that I have previously decided against. Sometimes your tastes change. I wouldn't want to live my life not eating, say, olives, just because I didn't like them as a little kid. I came around to them in college and now I am an olive fiend. Olives with chicken! Olives in tomato sauce! Olives sitting next to a hunk of delicious cheese as a pre-dinner snack. Yeah!

Incidentally, I also decided that if I'm going to eat turnips, I want them roasted, not boiled. Boiled turnips seems like something Laura Ingalls would have had to eat during the lean years on the prairie. I'm not living on no stinking prairie.

Since I wasn't in love, I'm not going to bother typing out the recipe for you guys. I do have a life beyond this blog, you know. I need to sit on my couch and space out for awhile before taking a nap with the dog.

Sweet Sophie, waiting patiently for me to put my silly computer away.

Time for my mid-morning nap.


  1. Just the words "boiled turnip" sound wrong. I'm with you - roast them.

  2. Here is to the benefits of a good nap with your pup, and thinking about the next great meal.


  3. I like turnips braised with lots of butter. :) I have a tag for you over on my blog - I hope you'll play along!

  4. Agrigirl: Roasted turnips are a totally different animal--er, vegetable.

    Velva: Cheers to that!

    camille: what's this about turnips braised in butter? Hm, need more information on that. Thanks for the tag, I'm in!

  5. Picture was pretty good, BTW.
    I think I love So.

  6. I somehow don't believe you take mid-morning naps :) And I definitely don't believe you're a moron! Wonder if the stew needed a hit of chilli or tomato or something. I can see why you weren't quite taken with it, sounds a little bit on the bland side.

  7. Hey, it's not a moron move to re-try things. I retry things I don't like every few years and as a result have found out that I like a lot of things I didn't used to.

    The stew sounds great, I've never actually used couscous, maybe I'll try it in something like this.

  8. cookie: you would totally love Soph. She & Bartlett would get along splendidly!

    shaz: well...I have been known to take naps at all times of day.

    Bob: Wow,nice to see you here! Yeah, try couscous--most people seem to like it more than I do.

  9. I had a thought. I know you probably won't make this recipe again, but you should try subbing quinoa for couscous. It has a great texture you'd adore. I made some taboulleh with it, and good!

  10. other than its name, couscous does nothing for me. don't give up on dorie yet! :)

  11. grace: Definitely have not given up on Dorie!

  12. Aww, Sophie is so adorable! I would definitely shut down my computer for that cuddly face!

  13. Jessica: she is very hard to resist...

  14. Thank you for such a funny and honest post. If you had written out the recipe I probably would have felt compelled to at least think about making it, since I do like all the ingredients! But since you've said it's a pass, I can move on scott free.
    At least your dog lies next to you quietly. Mine has learned to use his cute little head to butt my hand off the mouse, and he'll do it repeatedly if I don't step away from the computer!

  15. LOL, I give you credit for trying the recipe despite your reservations. I'm with you, I don't really understand couscous, although I do like saying the word, just like babaganoush. I, too, like to try things later in life because one's palate changes, I think. As I child I resisted sushi because the sliminess just didn't appeal. But when I tried it as an adult an appreciated the freshness of the fish and the beautiful color, now I love it! Eggplant? Ugh, that's another story!

  16. Sue: Your dog sounds like a smarty! Thanks so much for stopping by, hope to see you again.

    Ben: Eggplant is such a divider! I feel like I know a lot of men that don't like it. Coincidence? perhaps. Anyway, glad you re-visited sushi!

  17. Mr P hates cous cous, I am kind of ambivalent, but I really do like chickpeas. Love your honest review of this recipe. I think it looks pretty good though, and with it raining and pouring outside right now, a good hearty dish like this is something I crave.
    *kisses* HH

  18. HH: It really was comforting and hearty--I'll give it that!