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Warm Chicken and Couscous Salad

A staple of North African cuisine, couscous is a granular pasta made from durum wheat flour. In its region of origin, couscous is often made from scratch and cooked by a somewhat involved steaming process in which it is suspended over a simmering stew. Elsewhere in the world, couscous is usually available precooked and needs only to be stirred into boiling water or broth and allowed to sit for several minutes to rehydrate.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1⁄2 cups water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 cup instant couscous
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 green onions, white and tender green
     portions, chopped
  • 1⁄3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 10 1⁄2 oz. sliced roasted chicken (about 2
      cups) (see related recipes at left)
  • 1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh mint

Directions:

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the water and the 1/8 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous and return to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and fluff with a fork to separate the grains. Add the carrots, green onions and dried cranberries.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Stir into the couscous mixture.

Transfer the couscous to a serving dish and arrange the chicken on top. Sprinkle with the mint and serve warm. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Simon & Schuster, 2001).