Published on October 6th, 2013 | by Gareth3
Moroccan chicken tagine cous cous salad
Everyone loves a long weekend and the fact that I completely forgot about Labour Day until last Monday is like a surprise gift. The tall ships are here and there is a big navy shindig putting a show in the harbour (International Fleet Review). Perfect excuse for a picnic!
The thing with picnics is it’s all too easy to settle for chips and dips, a bottle of plonk and a few rolls. But I want more out a picnic than a soggy cheese and tomato roll with tepid wine. I wanted something a little more exotic.
I enjoyed the recent tagine flavours and wanted something that captured the richness without lots of sauce, tasted great hot or cold and portable. The result is a Moroccan chicken and apricot cous cous salad. I’ve used a whole chicken because it’s more economical plus I prefer making my own stock. But if you can’t be arsed I suggest you buy chicken quarters (Maryland) and a litre of decent quality stock (it will save you time).
The great thing about this dish is with every mouthful you get new flavour and texture combinations. Perhaps a bit of sweet apricot or squash, then heat, then crunch from the almonds.
Preparation time: 8 hours (includes the marinate time).
Cooking time: 1 hour
- 1 whole chicken (cheaper) or 4 quarters
- ½ butternut squash – diced
- ½ cup olives or blanched almonds
- 8 dried apricots – chopped
- Handful fresh coriander leaves – chopped or torn
- 2 cups cous cous
- 1 tblsp. preserved lemon rind – diced
- 1 ltr quality chicken stock
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. ground ginger
- 2 tbsp. ras el hanout (Moroccan seasoning)
- 1 tsp. chilli flakes
- Seasoning and lemon juice to taste.
- If pressed for time, skip the first two steps, buy the stock and buy chicken quarters.
- 24 hours in advance cut the breast meet off the chicken carcass, remove the wings and legs. This should give you a meatless carcass.
- Trim the fat off the carcass and boil with enough water to submerge the chicken carcass with one onion, one carrot, 1 bay leaf, thyme and a celery stick. Once to the boil, simmer for 2 hours. Drain the stock into a jug and discard the rest.
- Mix all of the spices (except the chilli flakes) in a large bowl and add the chicken. Ensure the spice is well rubbed in, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours, ideally overnight.
- When the chicken has marinated transfer to a covered tagine or ovenproof dish with a teaspoon of olive oil. Pop into a preheated oven (160 degrees) and cook for 45 minutes – 1 hour (until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear).
- Rub a little olive oil into the butternut squash cubes, season and put on a trey and put them in the oven to roast for about 40 minutes until golden.
- Allow to cool and then strip the chicken from the brown.
- Bring the stock to the boil; you can also add some/all of the meat juices from the chicken – optional)
- Put the cous cous in a bowl and add the hot stock. Give it a quick stir and allow to stand for a few minutes until the cous cous is soft. Fluff with a fork. If the cous cous isn’t soft, top up with a little boiling water.
- Add the chicken, chilli flakes, olives, coriander, apricot, butternut squash and preserved lemon. Mix thoroughly.
- Season and add the juice of one or two lemon quarters.
- Serve hot or cold with a nice glass of pinot gris – but make sure the wine is chilled.
Whats your favourite picnic treat?