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Sumac and Cinnamon Chicken with Date-Herb Couscous "Gruel"

Inspiration recipes being just that, I found much to love about the recipe that I read (attached below), but the coconut milk addition a bit jarring. So I headed off in a completely different direction, as is my wont.

Use whatever herbs you have on hand, though woodsy oregano is a good counter-balance to the sweetness of the date, and keep in mind that cinnamon is used as a spice with savory dishes by many a culture and a wonderful addition when used that way.

1 skin-on chicken thigh

1 portion couscous (mine is a quarter cup, yours may be more, or less)

1/3 cup chicken stock

1/2 shallot, peeled and cut into thin half moons

1 Tbsp Italian parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp mint, chopped

1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 date, pitted and finely chopped

1/4 tsp sumac

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1 Tbsp white wine

1 tsp olive/vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Bring the chicken to room temperature. Rub the skin with some salt, the chopped oregano and half each of the sumac and ground cinnamon.

Heat the oil in a skillet until it shimmers. Lower the heat and add the chicken, skin side down and cook on very low heat for seven minutes without moving the chicken so that the skin gets crispy.

While the chicken skin is crisping, prepare the couscous "gruel". I call it that because I deliberately wanted a wet and brothy couscous, rather than the usual dry and fluffy version.

Place the couscous, the remaining herbs, the chopped date and a pinch of salt to a bowl. Add just enough boiling water to cover the couscous, and set a plate on top of the couscous bowl so that the couscous can steam. Set aside so that you can get on with the chicken.

When the seven minutes skin-side down are done, turn the chicken over and add the shallots. Let cook for a couple of minutes, stirring the shallots from time to time.

Pour in the white wine and cover. Cook, still on low for an additional seven to ten minutes, depending on the size of your chicken thigh, until the chicken is cooked through. You may want to stir up the shallots from time to time to keep them from burning.

Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a dinner plate, lightly tented in foil.

Stir the chicken stock into the pan juices and use a spoon to incorporate any brown bits from the bottom into the stock. Raise the heat to medium-high and let bubble away for a couple of minutes until slightly thickened and then stir in the herbed couscous.

Cook until the couscous is heated through and check for seasoning before using it as the bed on which to lay your chicken.

Dinner in under thirty minutes.

Inspiration recipe, here.


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