Sunday, December 8, 2013


Roasted Spiced Chicken over Saffron Scented Couscous and with Caramelized Onions

I know that title is a bit of a mouthful, but this is just simple and easy comfort food for any time of the year.  If you are a busy student, the oven roasting time frame for the chicken frees you up to research, write or do whatever your homework tasks are. If you are a busy parent or single, this is just as simple and easy a recipe which frees you up to complete whatever tasks you might have to do before you settle in.  Or, if you are cooking for a loved one, you can simply snuggle and enjoy quality time while you wait a little while for the chicken to roast.  You will love the aromas of the saffron and herbs de provence, among other spices and herbs as you do what it is you.....well, do. With that, let's get to it, shall we? 

Here is what you will need:
1 package of 4 - 6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on.  That is just my preference for this dish, but feel free to use boneless-skinless chicken thighs, if you like. 
salt and pepper
1 rounded tablespoon of Herbs de Provence  (Love it with lavendar in the mix
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin  (adds a smoky warmth)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
2 tabs of butter
1/2 cup chicken stock (but don't put it away just yet!)
1- 2 large yellow onions, sliced into thick discs of half discs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.  In a small bowl, mix the other spices and herbs and sprinkle half of the mixture liberally on the skin side. Sprinkle the garlic over the skin side of the chicken.  Add the extra virgin olive oil and the butter to a cast iron skillet or an oven safe skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil begins to ripple, chicken skin-side down and sear for about four minutes.  Carefully turn;  if the skin is still sticking to the skillet, however, allow it to sear another two minutes until the skin releases easily.  Turn off the heat after one minute and place the chicken onto a plate and keep it close by, along with the onions and the chicken stock. 

Arrange the onions in the center of the skillet, sprinkle the onions lightly with salt and pepper, and place the chicken atop the onion discs. Add the chicken stock to the skillet, which will help keep the chicken and onions moist.  Add half a cup of your favorite wine, too, if you wish, to add extra flavor.  Do not be afraid to add beer, either!  The alcohol burns off but leaves great flavor behind for those browning and softening onions.  It is just delicious!



Roast for 25 - 30 minutes.  You will love the aromas filling your kitchen as time goes on. 

In the meantime, add a tab of butter and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a medium sauce pan and melt until the butter is foamy.  In a separate small sauce pan, add 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and a pinch of deep red, aromatic saffron over medium heat.  Allow the saffron to steep on low once the stock begins to boil.  The aroma will dazzle you, I tell you.  You may get quite distracted from your multi-tasking due to the amazing aromas filling your kitchen. I must now add a vague disclaimer if you suddenly find yourself unable to continue your tasks due to the aromas floating around in your kitchen. I'm just sayin'!

Once the butter foams and mixes with the evoo, add a cup of couscous.  Toast until the couscous starts becoming a beautiful golden color, then add once finely grated garlic clove and sautee for a good minute.  Smells great, I know!  Now add the saffron scented chicken stock, stir, turn off all of the heat and cover the couscous sauce pan. That is it!  You can leave it covered until you serve the dinner as a whole!

Back to the tasks at hand!  Orrrrr not!

When it all comes together after about thirty minutes, get ready to plate.  I was cooking this dish for my son up at college, so I served the chicken with a simple salad alongside a couscous round and the caramelized onions.  

Once the chicken is done, remove it and allow to rest.  Meanwhile, place the skillet over medium-high heat and reduce any remaining liquid with the now quite softened onions. Try to skim off some of the fat with a spoon.  I added a splash of balsamic vinegar to the onions just for the caramelization fun of it.  I used a small bowl and packed it with couscous (smells pretty great now!) and made a rounded stack in the center of the plate.  I added salad to one side, leaned chicken on either side and added some of that amazing caramelized onions between them.  I know, I am diligently working on my presentation skills. One of my major goals this new year. Watch me grow!



This was plate two, served up a little differently.  

 
Thank You, once again, for your viewing and reading time!