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Are there certain things that, no matter how simple, you have trouble cooking? Until recently, mine was couscous. It was always too soft and mushy or not cooked enough, and never had the fluffy and light texture that I wanted. So I avoided it for a long while, until I realized that I had been reading the directions wrong all along.
It's typically a good thing to follow the package instructions to learn the optimal cooking times for ingredients, especially pasta, but when it came to couscous, I somehow thought the box said to keep it over the heat after adding it to the boiling water. How and why I thought this, and for the length of time I did, is a pretty embarrassing mystery. Needless to say, that's not what you do, and couscous is actually really easy and quick to cook, making it an ideal base for a weeknight meal.
This recipe takes your average couscous and packs it with tons flavor, thanks to our handy one-pot method. First, I brown the chicken breast and finish it with some orange juice to make a quick glaze. Then, in the same pot, I add shallots and a little more oil to scrape up the flavorful bits on the bottom of the pan. Finally, I heat the broth directly in the pot, infusing the couscous and cooking liquid with a delicious orange-and-chicken flavor. Finish it with sliced almonds for a little crunch, golden raisins for sweetness, feta cheese for tang, and some orange segments for juiciness, and you've got a quick and easy dinner that comes together in just 30 minutes.
As for shredding the chicken, I"m a huge fan of doing it with my fingers—I find it less harsh than a fork and knife and, frankly, pretty fun to do (plus, you can always snack on the crispy, glazed pieces when nobody's looking).
The one intimidating part of this recipe might be making the orange segments, which look a lot harder than they really are to achieve. A quick Google search will pop up how-to videos and I'm confident you'll master it after one or two tries. The beauty of this recipe is that we're slicing them in half anyway match the size of the other ingredients, so they don't have to be picture perfect. You'll probably lose a lot of juice while you attempt these, so if you can try doing them over a bowl or something to catch the juice, then you can add that to the pot as well.
Fears aside, couscous is a versatile and easy base for any weeknight meal, and once you get the basics down, the possibilities are endless.
About the Author: Yasmin Fahr is a food lover, writer, and cook. Follow her @yasminfahr for more updates on her eating adventures and discoveries, which will most likely include tomatoes. And probably feta. Happy eating!
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