Who says we have to suffer...to live a healthy happy vibrant life?

Red wine and dark chocolate... might seem decadent...but these guilty pleasures also might help us live longer...and healthier lives. Red wine and dark chocolate definitely improve an evening..but they also contain resveratrol..which lowers blood sugar. Red wine is a great source of catechins..which boost protective HDL cholesterol. Green tea? Protects your brain..helps you live longer..and soothes your spirit.

Food for Thought, the blog, is about living the good life...a life we create with our thoughts and our choices...and having fun the whole while!

I say lets make the thoughts good ones..and let the choices be healthy...exciting...and delicious! Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's Cooking? Garlic Chicken and CousCous

In anticipation of the much acclaimed (and sad to say somewhat anticlimactic) rising of the Supermoon... and mostly because we don't get enough chances to visit..I invited my BFF's Jann, Melissa and Sue for dinner last night. We ended up with three teens in and out all evening too...the more the merrier...but good thing the recipe made a lot. Oh yes...the recipe! Adapted from Anne Burrell. It's time consuming...but not hard and the result? Your house smells like heaven and yes...it tastes scrumptious! Even the teens were loving it! Comfort food that is ready ahead of time so you can just be with your guests and have fun. I served it with a salad.

Garlic Chicken and Couscous

It takes some time to put this together, but if you do it ahead you can let it rest in the refrigerator and bake it an hour or so before dinner.

Ingredients: Chicken
                2 whole garlic bulbs, which you will roast whole.
                1 lemon, zested and juiced
                1 large bunch thyme, leaves only, or about two teaspoons dried if fresh isn't handy...
                1 teaspoon ground cumin
                Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
                Kosher salt
                Extra-virgin olive oil
                1 (4 to 5-pound) chicken, cut into 8 to 10 parts

                Kosher salt 
              1 package Couscous
                Extra-virgin olive oil
                1 large onion, sliced
                3 ribs celery, sliced thin on the bias
                Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
                1 1/2 cups dry white wine
                3 tablespoons tomato paste
                Large pinch saffron
                2 zucchini, green part only, cut into 1/2-inch dice
                2 to 3 cups chicken stock, plus one more cup reserved.

Optional pine nuts for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the garlic bulbs in a small tin and roast them until they are soft when squeezed, about 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let cool.
When the garlic bulbs are cool, slice the tops off and squeeze out the roasted garlic. Add the garlic to a food processor or a bowl, along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, cumin, crushed red pepper and salt, to taste. Add a little olive oil and puree or mash into a loose paste. Massage the mixture all over the chicken pieces and let sit for at least 1 hour. This is important don't cut corners here. The flavor you will get is really outstanding!
Couscous: This is where I took the most liberty with my recipe...her version had you partially cooking the couscous in water and letting it finish in the oven...I cut corners and it was delicious...
Follow the package directions using chicken stock instead of water and prepare the couscous. over medium heat. After the couscous is done fluff it with a fork and set it aside.
Coat a large saute pan with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and brown it on all sides. Remove it to a plate.

 Drain away most of the fat in the saute pan and saute the onions and celery. Season with salt, to taste, and the crushed red pepper. Deglaze with white wine, scraping up all the sticky bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook the onions and celery for 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in the saffron, zucchini, cooked couscous, and a little of the chicken stock. Stir to combine, then taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Transfer the mix to an ovenproof dish. I used my Cazuela for this..arrange the chicken, skin side up, in the couscous and add some more chicken stock to keep everything nice and moist. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if you like them and cover with foil. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan.
Roast the chicken for 30 minutes, covered, then remove the foil and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven and serve.

Oh yes...you can have a Cazuela of your very own...order it from Amazon! They come in lots of different sizes..I used the big one....

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