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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pineapple Chicken with Moroccan Couscous

Do you ever feel like it's really time you did something different with that plain old slow-cooker chicken?

I get that feeling all the time. It's only sometimes that I have the imagination to actually do something about it.

Slow-Cooker chicken is so easy, and so good just as it comes, that it must be hands-down one of the best family meals you can cook. I was looking in the fridge for something that might make the bird more interesting when I spotted some pineapple rings from the night before, and I was inspired.

Don't forgot to pay very close attention to hygiene if you're going to get this intimate with a chicken...

Also pictured here is my latest obsession: Couscous. With apologies to anyone who already knows the joys of couscous, this stuff has to be the best carbo alternative there is. It takes just a few minutes to cook and tastes like whatever you choose to make it taste like. I'll be throwing around heaps of suggestions for how to make this stuff a normal part of your weekly meal routine as I discover more interesting ways to deliver it to the table.

Here it's cooked with a pre-packaged Moroccon spice blend. If you have the skill and the means to prepare your own spice blends, go for it - and maybe drop us a link here to share. From everything I've ever read about making up things like garam masala or other spicy mixes, the quantities involved are usually such that we would never use it all before it goes stale. So we stick to the pre-made ones for now. Suggestions welcome!

To cook couscous, just boil an equal quantity of water (ie, 1 Cup) with 3T olive oil and 1-2 T of flavouring, remove the water from the heat, add the couscous (again, 1 Cup), allow to stand off the heat for 3 minutes, then stir through 1T of butter. Fluff up with a fork and serve. Yummy stuff.

Now, onto the main event:

Pineapple-Stuffed Chicken

(Serves 4)

Take one whole chicken of a size suitable to feed your family, and make sure it is either fresh or completely thawed.
Slice the skin of the chicken near the tail on the breast side. Carefully prise the skin away from the flesh, making sure that it remains firmly attached down the length of the breast. Gently slide in two pineapple slices cut in half lengthwise, being careful not to break the skin, as per the picture.

Halve an onion and jam it firmly into the cavity.

Toss the chicken (gently) in a large bowl with 3T Soy Sauce, 1/4C Pineapple juice (reserved from the canned slices), freshly ground salt and pepper, and 3T of flour. Place on a low rack in the slow cooker, and cook on high for 2 hours, reducing to low for a further 3 hours. And yes, after all the care you took not to split the skin, it'll split anyway. But you didn't do it. The laws of physics did.Anyway, when you try to get the chook out of the cooker, it'll just fall apart. Dish the chicken and top it with the pineapple rings and fresh diced capsicum, alongside Morrocan Couscous and fresh veges.

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