This is one of my favourite speedy meals. I love North African flavours and this is an easy way to get them. Using Harissa & Dukkah makes this really quick and easy to prepare with minimal chopping and other preparation (or faffing as my mother calls it). They both make great storecupboard ingredients too.
Dukkah is an Egyptian spice mix with ground pulses, seeds & herbs. It is a wonderful ingredient to have on hand as it can be used as a marinade, dip (awesome with hummus) or spice mix to flavour rice, beans, couscous etc. These days it is widely available. I have to say that the offerings from supermarkets are highly variable so check the ingredients list before you buy it – it should be long so that you get a aromatic, nutty deliciousness from it. I saw one which was basically coriander & cumin – who needs to buy that?
I add a little cinnamon to my couscous too & sometimes some chilli powder depending on my mood. The honey brings out the flavour of the spices but is not essential. If you don’t like couscous try this with freekeh, bulgur or rice. This is my super quick method for making couscous. If you have more time the texture is softer when it is properly steamed. I garnished the couscous with fresh parsley & toasted pine nuts but any nut works fine & coriander and mint are also great additions.
Harissa is a chilli mixture which is perfect with chicken. It is often used as a table condiment. It makes a decent marinade for chicken and only needs a little salt as it contains garlic & I think, some citrus. It certainly has citrus notes. You will have to decide how much to put on your chicken depending on your tolerance for heat. I don’t usually find it that hot & add quite a lot. In fact if I am in the mood for something really spicy I also sprinkle some piri piri on too.I know a lot of people don’t eat poussin but I really like it’s juiciness. Some people find it bland but I find most chicken bland these days. A certain big name supermarket sells corn fed, free range poussin for a reasonable price so I often get one if I am eating on my own. It is ready in about 25 minutes in a hot oven (220 degrees). I also use drumsticks and thighs for this recipe. I never roast chicken breasts in the oven so would pan fry those in thin strips if I didn’t have any cuts with bones. That is actually quicker but it is down to personal taste really – I prefer legs.
There is not really much work involved in this meal at all, rub some marinade on the chicken, bung it in the oven with some veg, fry some onions & spices pour that over couscous & there you have it. The longest thing is roasting the chicken but you can have a glass of wine while that happens. You can prepare the couscous while the chicken is resting – EASY!
Harissa Chicken with Dukkah Couscous
Ingredients (Serves 2):
2 portions chicken (with bone is better for roasting)
2-3 tsp Harissa paste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dukkah
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp stock powder
1 Roasted pepper (or other roasted vegetables)
salt to taste
Parsley & Toasted pine nuts to garnish
1. Prepare & marinade the chicken. I like to slit into the flesh a little & rub the Harissa into the openings to get some flavour into the flesh. This can be done ahead of time or just before depending on your schedule.2. Roast the chicken (timing will depend on the cut). If using breasts it is probably easier to slice them, marinade & pan-fry so they don’t dry out. If you are adding roasted vegetables to the couscous then put them in the oven with the chicken.
3. To prepare the couscous you will need to make a sort of spicy stock. Chop the onion (the smaller you cut it the quicker it cooks) & fry it gently in the olive oil for a few minutes until it is beginning to go soft.
4. Add the dukkah & cinnamon & fry whilst stirring for a minute or two to release the aromas of the spices. Add about 150 ml hot water, the honey & stock powder. Give it a good stir and taste to check the seasoning, add salt if you feel it needs it – this will depend on the stock. Bring it to the boil.
5. Place the couscous in a bowl & add enough of the spicy liquid to just cover it. Place a tea towel over the top & leave it for a few minutes.
6. Once all the liquid has been absorbed fluff the couscous with a fork and taste it. It will probably still be slightly hard – microwave it for about a minute to complete the cooking & fluff it up again. If it is still hard at this point it needs more water so add a little & repeat the process. Check the seasoning again.
7. If you are adding any garnish prepare them now. Pine nuts can be toasted ahead of time & kept in an airtight jar.
Once the chicken and vegetables are ready it is just a matter of assembly. Chop the chicken into portions & slice up the roasted pepper. Chop the parsley & mix it into the couscous. Serve while hot and garnish with nuts and or seeds for crunch.
If you like the Simple Suppers idea then try our other posts:
They are all quick to prepare and (relatively) healthy – ideal for a quick cook after a hard day at work.