Saturday, November 19, 2022: Chicken and Pearl Couscous + Pumpkin Pastry Twists
November 27th, 2022 by Alex Koster

This weekend my friends and I organized a “Friendsgiving” where we each brought our own dish. I decided to make my classic chicken and pearl couscous recipe which was definitely a hit and also brought along pumpkin pastry twists. The original chicken and pearl couscous recipe came from Martha Stewart’s Living magazine years ago and is both healthy and delicious–it’s one of our family favorites. I’ve adjusted it a bit and the ingredients are listed below.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups pearl couscous (aka Israeli couscous)
  • 1 and 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 strips of lemon peel (about 2 inches each)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth (have more in case you need it)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add couscous and cook, stirring for
    1-2 minutes till slightly browned. Transfer couscous to a bowl, and return the skillet to
    heat. (OK to add a little bit more oil if the pan seems dry)
  2. Cook chicken, smooth side down, until browned (3-5 minutes), flip, and cook 3
    minutes more. Transfer to a plate, leaving drippings in the skillet.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring. Add
    tomatoes, garlic, lemon peel, and saffron. Cook, stirring, till tomatoes begin to
    break down (about 3 minutes), add wine and cook a few minutes more.
  4. Return chicken to skillet, and add stock, salt, and couscous. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 12-14 minutes until couscous is tender and chicken is cooked
    through. NOTE: at this point, I taste the couscous and if it still a little crunchy
    (and all the stock is absorbed), I add ½ cup of chicken broth. Once the couscous is
    tender, stir in peas, cook till peas heated through (about 1 minute) and serve!

Note: if you are lucky enough to have leftovers, it’s even better the next day.

Pumpkin Pastry Twists

For dessert I made Pumpkin Pastry Twists using the ingredients listed below–along with these simple instructions.

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet. Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Then on a smooth, workable surface, unfold or unroll your puff pastry until it’s laid out evenly. Spread the pumpkin puree even across all of the puff pastry. Sprinkle on the brown sugar mixture until the pumpkin is well covered. Cut your puff pastry into thin strips. Grab the ends of one strip and start twisting the pastry then lay the twisted strip on your prepared parchment paper and repeat with the remaining strips. Bake the pastries for 15-20 minutes and sprinkle them with powdered sugar. These twists are so easy but look impressive (and taste delicious) so I definitely recommend them.

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