© William Meppem
Moroccan Couscous-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
- SERVINGS: 4
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/3 cup couscous
- 1/2 cup boiling chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 8 small dried apricot halves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves with skin, pounded to an even thickness
- 1 tablespoon harissa (optional)
- 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.
- Using your fingers, loosen the chicken breast skin. Stuff the couscous under the skin, pressing it into an even layer.
- 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.
- 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.