With the subtle tones of rose water and honey, this tender spiced chicken dish is an absolute show stopper! The sweet prunes and salty olives balance each other perfectly and then for a final kick…….the sharp freshness of coriander. It doesn’t stop there! A rather plain side of cous cous is given a makeover with tangy preserved lemons for a match made in Moroccan heaven……..Ohhhh Yeaaaahhhh!!!
Prep time: 20 Minutes Cooking time: 25 Minutes $$ Medium Budget
4 free range breast fillets, lightly scored
30gm of butter
1tbs of Ras el Hanout (see Lamb Tagine recipe)
1 brown onion, halved and finely sliced
1 cup of chicken stock
16 pitted prunes
16 green Sicilian olives
11/2 tbs of honey
11/2 tbs of lemon juice
11/2 tbs of rose water*
1/2 cup of chopped coriander
For the Cous Cous:
2 cups of cous cous
2 cups of boiling water
4 wedges of preserved lemon, flesh removed and discarded
20gm of butter
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Half a dozen finely chopped coriander stalks
Heat a heavy based frypan (with a lid) and melt the butter. When the butter is bubbling add the ras el hanout and stir over a low heat until fragrant (approx 30 seconds). Increase the heat to medium and add the chicken breast fillets, cook for 1 minute on either side and be careful not to burn the spices. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onion to the pan and cook until nice and soft before pouring in the stock, honey, lemon juice and rose water. Give everything a stir, pop in the prunes and olives and allow to simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
Return the chicken to the pan and pop the lid on. Allow the chicken to simmer away for 15 minutes until just cooked but still really tender. Just before serving stir through half the coriander.
To make the cous cous, place it in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water. Add the butter, cumin, coriander stalks and preserved lemon. Stir well and cover with cling wrap for approximately 10 minutes. Remove the cling wrap and fluff the cous cous with a fork.
To plate up the dish, place equal portions of the cous cous in 4 serving bowls. Slice each chicken breast diagonally about 1/12 inches apart and arrange over the cous cous. Drizzle the beautiful aromatic sauce over the chicken, making sure everyone gets the same amount of olives and prunes (there will be fights if you don’t) and top with the remaining coriander.
I served this dish with steamed broccolini.
*Rose water can be found in most supermarkets or specialty food shops like The Essential Ingredient.