I decided to get back to making a regular Sunday dinner and this week as I hadn’t done it a couple of weeks. I had picked up some chicken earlier in the week and a whole chicken makes great Sunday meal. I wanted to find a recipe that would make things a little different and I had seen this one on the Food Network about a week or so ago and thought I would give it a try. It is Garlic Chicken with Israeli Couscous. I had never made it before and it looked good on the TV so we figured what the head lets give it a try.
Garlic Chicken with Israeli Couscous
For the Chicken:
2 whole garlic bulbs
1 lemon, zest stayed and juice
1 large bunch fresh thyme, leaves only
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 4 to 5 pound chicken, cut into eight parts
2 cups medium size Israeli couscous
Extra virgin olive oil
3 ribs celery, sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Large pinch saffron
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
3 scallions, white and green, sliced thin
For the garlic chicken: preheat the oven to 350°. Put the garlic bulbs straight on the oven rack and roast them until they are soft when squeezed, about thirty minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Turn the oven up to 375°.
While the garlic is roasting, prepare the chicken. In a food processor or bowl, add the lemon zest and juice and set aside. When the garlic bulbs are cool, slice the tops off and squeeze out the roasted garlic into the bowl or food processor along with the thyme, cumin, crushed red pepper and salt to taste. Add a little olive oil and purée or mash into a loose paste. Massage the mixture all over the chicken pieces and allow it to sit for at least one hour.
For the couscous: bring a pot of well salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the couscous and cook until it is about two-thirds of the way cooked through, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and brown it on all sides. Remove it to a plate, drain the fat and add the celery and onions. Season with salt and crushed red pepper. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up all the bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another two minutes. Add in the saffron, zucchini, cooked couscous and chicken stock. Stir well to combine, and then taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
Transfer the mix to a ovenproof dish. Nestle the chicken, skin side up, in the couscous and add some more chicken stock, if needed, to keep things moist and cover the pan with foil. Add some more chicken stock to keep everything moist. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if using, and cover the pan with foil. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan. Roast the chicken for approximately 20 minutes, and then remove the foil and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and top with this scallions before serving.
The chicken came out very moist and had a nice flavor to it because of the garlic paste that was used. I had never made couscous before, so it was little different for me, but I think it came out okay. I don’t think I put enough salt in the water when I was preparing it initially because it tasted like it could use a little more seasoning. Use your best judgment and see what works well for you. I also did not use the pine nuts as they are quite expensive and not something I normally use at all so I just left them out of the recipe. Overall I think it turned out pretty well and if you didn’t want to use couscous I think you could easily substitute white rice or brown rice and this recipe and it would turn out just fine.
Earlier in the week, Sean had asked me to get some strawberries and make something for dessert with them. Of course, this time of year the first thing I thought of was strawberry rhubarb pie. I love the taste of the fresh strawberries with the rhubarb and I hadn’t made this pie before so I had to scour around for a recipe to use. I found one at Williams – Sonoma and I also found one through America’s Test Kitchen. I liked aspects of each one, although the one from America’s Test Kitchen did not include any rhubarb so I sort of combine the two recipes and used the best of both to see how it would come out.
Strawberry – Rhubarb Pie
Two rolled out rounds of basic pie dough, or store-bought pie dough
4 pints (about 3 pounds) fresh strawberries, gently rinsed and dried, hulled and quartered lengthwise
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons low sugar or no sugar pectin
Generous pinch table salt
1 tablespoon juice from one lemon
3 cups rhubarb, trimmed and sliced half-inch thick (four or five stalks)
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 350°.
For the filling: Select 6 ounces misshapen, underripe or otherwise unattractive strawberries, halving those that are large; you should have about 1 1/2 cups. In a food processor, process the berries until they are a smooth purée, about 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. You should have about 3/4 cup of purée when you are done.
Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, pectin, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in the berry purée, making sure to scrape the corners of the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, and bring to a full boil. Boil, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent scorching, for two minutes to ensure that the cornstarch is fully cooked (the mixture will appear frothy when it first reaches a boil, then will darken and thicken with further cooking). Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, pick over the remaining strawberries and halve any that are still large. Mix the berries and the rhubarb into the bowl with the glaze and fold gently with a rubber spatula until everything is coated evenly. Place one dough round in the bottom of the pie plate and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Transfer the berry mixture to the dough-lined pan. Dot the fruit mixture with the butter. Place the second dough round carefully over the top of the filled pie. Trim the edges neatly, leaving a slight overhang and crimp the edges to seal the pie. Brush the top crust with one lightly beaten egg. Using a small knife, cut five or six slits into the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking.
Place the pie in the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling, approximately 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow the pie to cool completely to set. Serve at room temperature or re-warm in a 350° oven for 10 to 15 minutes just before serving.
I think the pie turned out great myself. It was still just a little bit runny but not much. I think using the pectin instead of tapioca did seem to really help, and it gave the strawberry pie a nice strawberry jam-like flavor to it. I think once it has been sitting in the refrigerator overnight it will have set up even more and taste even better. Of course, you want to serve this with fresh whipped cream or ice cream on the side.
That’s all there is for today. I do have a few recipes planned out for the week, so we’ll see what we can get to as far as what we want to put up here. I do know I am making fish tacos this week at some point and I have posted a couple of different recipes for them on the air, so it is likely I’ll be using one of those if you want to check out and see what the recipe is like. I do also have a recipe I want to try this week for chicken sandwiches and will have to see what else comes along during the week. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
I forgot to take a picture of the chicken to go along with this. Sorry about that