roasted garlic-cumin chicken over couscous

A couple of weekends ago, a big storm was headed our way. Not sure if we would lose power - or for how long, if we did - I decided it was a good time to make one really good last meal. I picked this up from Anne Burrell on the Food Network partly because I have always wanted to make roasted garlic. This recipe calls for two whole heads of garlic, but roasting it brings out an earthy sweetness that is just awesome with the chicken and whole-wheat couscous. 

Chef beware, however: as delicious and healthy as this meal is, it is an all-day affair. Make it when it's raining out and you want to be stuck in the kitchen. :)

Roasted Garlic-Cumin Chicken over Couscous
  • 2 whole garlic bulbs
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 large bunch thyme, leaves only
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 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 1/2 c whole-wheat couscous (or 2 cups medium-size Israeli 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 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3 scallions, white and green, sliced thinly on the bias

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the garlic bulbs (still in their natural casings) directly on an oven rack 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 one hour.
  • Cook couscous according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  • 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 the fat and add the onions and celery. Season with salt, to taste, and the crushed red pepper. Deglaze with white wine, scraping up all the crud on the bottom of the pan and cook the onions and celery for seven to eight minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in the saffron, zucchini, cooked couscous, and 1 1/2 chicken stock. After stirring, dish should be juicy and moist, but not soggy. Taste and adjust seasoning, and add more broth, up to 2 c, if needed. Transfer the mix to an ovenproof dish. Nestle the chicken, skin side up, in the couscous and cover with foil. Add some more chicken stock to keep everything nice and moist. Sprinkle with pine nuts and cover with foil. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan.
  • Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, covered, then remove the foil and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and top with scallions before serving.
*Note: Save the bones and make homemade chicken stock!