Coconut Chicken and Couscous

12 Apr
Coconut Chicken with Couscous

Coconut Chicken with Couscous

Serendipity! Not only did I discover a recipe I really wanted to try but I had all the ingredients on hand, including some unusual ones that I was wondering how to use.

Those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning may remember that I started it as part of the process of getting my recipes in order. I had a 4 x 6 index card file, started soon after Joe and I married. When that filled up, I started putting clippings and copied recipes in an accordion file divided into salads, soups, pastas and grains, poultry, etc. Then there was a manila folder with all the clippings I hadn’t had time to sort into categories for the accordion file. There were hundreds — maybe thousands! — of recipes, some of them more than 30 years old. Some were old favorites and some I had never made.

So I started going through them, putting the ones I knew I liked into a computer Word file, putting the ones I had never made but that looked really worth trying into yet another manila folder, and throwing away the rest — either duplicates or “no way am I ever going to make this.”

So far I’ve made it through the card file and about two-thirds of the accordion file. I have input more than 230 tried-and-true recipes into my online collection. The bulging manila folder still awaits.

This one was new!

Today’s recipe is one of those I had never made before but that looked worthwhile.

It came from some magazine or other; the only identifying information is “1997” at the bottom and a note that says the recipes (there must have been others in the article) were from Michele Peters and Cynthia DePersio.

The recipe is a bit complex but not difficult. Measure out all the ingredients at the beginning and the actual cooking will be a snap.

A couple of notes:

  • The recipe calls for “chicken cutlets” and I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead, so it took longer to cook than the recipe says — about 8 minutes on each side. When I make it again, I’ll cut the breasts in half horizontally and pound them thin so they’re more like cutlets.
  • The recipe also calls for cooking in a grill pan, which I don’t have — and it’s still too cold in Michigan to grill outdoors. I probably could have broiled the chicken breasts but I decided to cook them in a regular (not cast iron) skillet on the stovetop, and so I used a couple of teaspoons of oil at the beginning to get them going without sticking. I think grilling would give them a browner color that would provide more contrast with the white sauce.
  • We didn’t have a box of couscous, we had a 2-pound jar. I measured out 10 ounces, which the recipe calls for. This makes an enormous amount of couscous — more than we could eat in four servings. If you’re starting with bulk couscous, you may want to use 8 ounces instead of 10. (It would probably absorb the same amount of liquid — or you could cut back a little  on the chicken broth. Of course the couscous is good left over too, even if there’s no more chicken to go with it!
  • I think this dish would be equally good using rice instead of the couscous. Cook it as a pilaf with the same spices, using the coconut milk in place of some of the water you would normally use to cook it.

Ingredients:

Coconut Couscous:

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. grated ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced jalapeno chili
1 cup regular or light coconut milk (take it from a 14-oz. can and save the rest for the sauce, below)
1¼ cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
½ tsp. salt
1 box (10 oz.) couscous
1 Tbs. lime juice

Coconut Sauce:

6 oz. coconut milk
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 tsp. minced jalapeno chili
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt

4 chicken cutlets (about 1 lb. total)
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Prepare ingredients for the couscous – but the cooking will take only 5 minutes, so you might want to hold off on the final step until you start cooking the chicken.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and 1 tsp. minced jalapeno and cook 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup coconut milk, chicken broth, peas and salt; bring to a boil.

Stir in the couscous and 1 Tbs. lime juice, remove from the heat, and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Heat a grill or a cast iron skillet for the chicken.

Combine the remaining coconut milk, 2 Tbs. lime juice, 1 tsp. minced jalpeno, cumin and salt. Pour ⅓ cup of the mixture into a shallow dish and add the chicken, turning to coat. Reserve remaining sauce.

Cook the chicken on the hot grill. If you use a non-cast iron skillet instead, heat it with 2 tsp. of oil at this point. Cook the chicken, turning once halfway and brushing with the reserved sauce. If you need to do this in two batches, keep the first batch warm on a covered plate.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and spoon onto dinner plates. Slice each chicken cutlet and arrange in the center.

If you have any sauce left over, bring it to the boil and pour it over the chicken. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Serves 4

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: