Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Couscous with Chicken and Broccoli

Why is it that I can never follow a recipe to the letter?
I'll tell you.

1. I'm a fussy eater and inevitably the recipe will contain something I don't like so I 'substitute' ingredients. (you ever wondered why things like bell peppers never ever show up in anything I make? Well now you know!)
2. I like to use what I have in the kitchen but when I do go and buy ingredients specially for a recipe there is a big chance that I will forget one or two things...
3. Apparently I like to improvise.

Jamie's 15 minute meals is turning into a hit in my house. Clearly not because I am following the recipes the way they were written, but because it is a source of inspiration for my improvisation.

Take Jamie's recipe for a delicious chicken salad with bulgur wheat. I love the idea of it, but not all the ingredients so my recipe substituted bulgur wheat with couscous, radish with red onion, pumpkin seeds with pine nuts, pickled lemons for fresh lemons and finally red wine vinegar with white wine vinegar. Yes, you would be right if you are thinking it deviates significantly from his recipe... but it was delicious!! I'm making it again and it took less than 30 minutes :-)

Here is the improvised recipe which should happily feed 2 to 3 persons:

Make the couscous first by using a ratio of 1:2 couscous to liquid (e.g. 1 cup couscous plus 2 cups boiling water). Add some salt, lemon zest and juice of half a lemon. Cover it and let it rest.

Cut the broccoli into florets and add to boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender but not soft.

Now season two chicken fillets with salt, pepper and ground coriander seeds.
Place them in a baking sheet and pound them with the intention to flatten them to about 1,5 cm thick thereby reducing the cooking time.

Add a dash of olive oil to a pan and cook the chicken breasts until golden on both sides, turning regularly.

Drain the broccoli and let it rest while you work with the rest of the salad ingredients. Slice up some spring onions, finely chop fresh mint leaves (half a handful of leaves should do), and slice a nice red onion into rings. Place into a bowl and add a dash of extra virgin olive oil, a dash or two of white wine vinegar, salt and pepper and mix it all up. Slice the cooked chicken and toss with the salad ingredients.

Place the broccoli on the couscous, then add the chicken and salad mixture.
Sprinkle some some garden cress (tuinkers) and pine nuts on top of the salad. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the salad.  Lastly add a tablespoon or two of fat free yoghurt with a teaspoon of harissa.



  1. Lijkt me heerlijk helaas lust mijn wederhelft geen couscous! (Snap jij dat nou?!)

    1. Ik snap het gewoon niet! ;-) Bij ons is het echt een basisvoedsel geworden.


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