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Moroccan Couscous-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
© William Meppem

Moroccan Couscous-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

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  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  5. 1/3 cup couscous
  6. 1/2 cup boiling chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  7. 8 small dried apricot halves, coarsely chopped
  8. 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  9. 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  10. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  11. 4 boneless chicken breast halves with skin, pounded to an even thickness
  12. 1 tablespoon harissa (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick, cumin and coriander and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Off the heat, add the couscous and boiling stock, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the apricots, pine nuts and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature, then remove the cinnamon stick.
  2. Using your fingers, loosen the chicken breast skin. Stuff the couscous under the skin, pressing it into an even layer.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the harissa with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Brush the chicken skin with the harissa oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the chicken. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the chicken for about 10 minutes, or until white throughout. Serve at once.
Notes Variation: Double the couscous and stuff it into the cavities of four 1 1/4-pound Cornish hens. Truss the hens, brush with the harissa oil and roast at 350° for 1 hour. Serve With Roasted red onions and sautéed greens.


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