Friday, March 5, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Chicken and Couscous

It's time for a special Friday night dinner.  This recipe will pretty much knock your socks off.  It seems complicated, but it really isn't.  Every bite is like a big pat on the back congratulating you for trying something new.  It's spicy, tangy, sweet, and savory all at once.  Somehow this array of flavors comes together in harmony, like a hybrid between Indian and Moroccan cuisine that is simply delicious.

I first made this recipe a few years ago for Valentine's day with my husband.  I am kind of shocked I've shelved it this long, as it was amazing.  I particularly love the herb yogurt sauce that gets drizzled over the top.  I can definitely foresee using it for other purposes, like a crudite dip, sandwich spread, or salad dressing.  Yum.

If you're looking for something different to wake up your palate, this is it.  I know the ingredient list seems long, but you probably already have most of them in your kitchen.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken and Couscous
adapted from Rachael Ray's Book of 10
serves 2-3


1 1/4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup mango chutney
salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
zest and juice of 1/2 small lemon
3/4 cup plain (or whole wheat) couscous
1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt
handful fresh mint leaves
handful fresh cilantro leaves
1 scallion, coarsely chopped
juice of 1 small lime


1.  In a small pot over medium-low heat, combine 1 cup of the chicken broth with the mango chutney.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a bubble, then reduce heat to low.  Let sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

2.  In a large skillet with high sides, or a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes.  Cook and stir to toast the spices for just a few seconds.  Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat in the spices.  Spread out in an even layer and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Cook until just browned on each side.

3.  Add onion, pepper, garlic, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the grated ginger.  Cook about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add remaining 1/4 cup of chicken stock and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.

4.  Scoot the chicken and veggies to the edges of the pot to make a well in the center.  Pour in the chicken broth / chutney mixture and bring to a bubble.  Add lemon zest and juice, then add the couscous to the well in the middle.  Press it down gently with a spatula or spoon to get it into the liquid, but try to keep it in the well.  Cover the pan tightly with a lid and remove from heat.

5.  While the couscous cooks, combine yogurt, mint, cilantro, scallion, lime juice, and remaining ginger with a splash of water in a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

6.  After couscous has been sitting for five minutes,  remove lid and fluff the couscous with a fork.  Just about all of the liquid should have been absorbed.  Stir couscous with the chicken and veggies.  Serve with a drizzle of the yogurt sauce.



  1. An impressive meal to serve to guests. Looks delicious.

  2. I've been making this several times a year since I found this in one of RR's cookbooks. It is by far the best thing I've ever made. Serve it often to guests and it gets rave reviews! The only thing I do is just brown the chicken w/out cooking thru and set aside so it doesn't dry out. When I add it to the beginning of step 4, it cooks thru and is much more tender.