the family dinner series: cinnamon chicken over couscous and dried fruit

for us, food is a way of bringing people together. we set aside the business of our days, make a conscious decision to put away our cell phones and laptops, and take the time to savor the simple happiness that comes with a home-cooked meal and good company. with this in mind, we hosted the first of a series of “family dinners” for our classmates this past weekend. our first few weeks of med school  have been tremendously busy so a Sunday night dinner provided the perfect time to recharge before another busy week. as for the meal itself, cinnamon chicken and couscous added a little Middle Eastern flair to our evening in New Haven. there were a few vegetarians in the group and we simply replaced the chicken with some cauliflower and sweet potato. keep the same seasoning and just roast the veggies instead of searing them on the skillet first. our first post, summer arugula salad with tomato vinaigrette, made for a simple side salad to complete the meal.

we had a wonderful time with these ladies and are so excited to continue hosting throughout the year!

be well – w&s

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adapted from bon appetit fast easy fresh, ed. Barbara Fairchild

serves 8 with $40 for ingredients from Elm City Market

 1 hr prep time (2 people)

chicken:

8 chicken thighs, skin on or off

1.5 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced (can sub with 1.5 tsp ground)

2 tbsp canola oil

salt & pepper

couscous:

2 cups French couscous

2 onions, chopped

2 cups broth (we used vegetable)

3/4 cup currants

3/4 cup Craisins

1 tsp cinnamon

4 tsp. fresh mint, chopped

preheat oven to 375º F. make slits in chicken to allow for even cooking. sprinkle thighs with even layer of salt & pepper, cinnamon, and ginger. flip over and repeat. thighs can be left to “marinate” in rub for 20 mins as you prepare couscous and salad or cooked immediately. heat canola oil in large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. add 4 thighs at a time: if using skin-on thighs, place skin side down first. cook until brown, about 5 mins. flip thighs, cook for 1 min, and transfer to a glass oven-safe baking dish. repeat cooking with 4 remaining thighs. put all semi-cooked thighs in dish and bake for 15 mins. check doneness of thighs by making a cut in a thick part: if juices run clear (no signs of red), chicken is done. if not, let cook for ~5 mins more and check again. when cooked, remove from oven and to retain heat, tent dish with foil.

in the same skillet used for cooking chicken, add chopped onion. [if there are vegetarians, do this step in a clean skillet.] cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. add dried fruit and cinnamon; mix well. add broth and bring to boil. remove from heat, add couscous and mint, and cover. allow to sit for 10 minutes until couscous is cooked through.

set chicken thigh and a sprig of mint atop bed of couscous dish. serve with side salad topped with avocado slices and vinaigrette.

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