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Garlic Chicken with Pancetta served with Couscous with Pine nuts and Currants

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garlic-chicken-with-pancettaI was watching food television the other day and saw someone make chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. It looked delicious but it seemed quite labor intensive. I have been meaning to make this dish for a while but have been lazy – so I made it simpler. I decided to use less garlic- it takes too long to peel 40 cloves. I used one head of garlic instead and it was more than enough. I also coated the chicken pieces with seasoned flour before I browned them. I saved a step by doing this- I don’t have to take the chicken out and make a roux separately. I also decided to add pancetta for an extra layer of flavor – boy, what intense flavor bacon gives to a dish! Everything is good with bacon! The fresh thyme is a great addition- it brings a very earthy flavor to the dish. I served the chicken with couscous that I made with pine nuts and currants. I usually add golden raisins to my savory dishes- never used currants before- well I am a fan! They are great tiny little balls of sweetness and go really well in the couscous. My daughter who usually takes the raisins out, somehow didn’t mind the currants in the couscous. I added a little extra chicken broth to the dish so we can enjoy extra sauce with the couscous. 

So, since the dish didn’t have any vegetables, I was planning on serving a salad. I had baby arugula in the fridge and decided to make it simple and add some lemon juice and salt. It suddenly occurred to me maybe I should serve the seasoned arugula on top of the dish! What a brilliant idea- actually it’s not mine- I have seen it many times on food television– they usually add seasoned greens on pizza, pasta, etc. Well it is a great idea- it tasted fantastic!  The lemony arugula was perfect with the creamy chicken and the sweet couscous. It really was a brilliant dish and I think great for company. We drank a Riesling with the chicken- the same one I used to make the sauce. It stood up to the strong flavors of the chicken dish but was light at the same time. It was a very enjoyable meal indeed- nothing better in life than to enjoy great food and wine with the people you love most! 

  • 8 chicken thighs, skinless with bone (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pancetta, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, skins off and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1½ cups chicken broth

Mix the flour with some salt and pepper in a wide platter. Sprinkle salt and pepper generously on the chicken pieces and dredge in the seasoned flour. Keep aside.
In the meantime, in a wide and heavy pan, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté till golden brown, about 30 seconds. In batches, sauté the chicken in the fat until nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes on each side. When the batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to sauté all the chicken pieces. Lower the heat once the chicken is done, and add all the garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the wine, return to a boil and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme and chicken and the chicken broth. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is done. Take the cover off and bring to a boil to thicken the sauce for a good 7-8 minutes or till it reaches the desired consistency. Check for seasoning and garnish with fresh thyme.

Couscous with Pine Nuts and Currants

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup currants
  • Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Add the pine nuts and sauté for a minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the couscous and salt and cover the pan and turn the heat off. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and add the currants and check for seasonings.

Serve with Arugula on top

  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt

Mix the arugula with the lemon juice and salt. Serve on top of the chicken and couscous.

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