North African Chicken Soup with Fruit and Nuts
For a lean alternative in your next chicken recipe, substitute turkey. It has much less fat and much more protein than chicken, and it is often a better buy at the grocery store.
- 1 (4–pound) whole chicken
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic (or 2 teaspoons roasted garlic)
- 1 cup diced dried apricots (unsulfured is best; they are dark brown)
- 4-inch piece ginger
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 dash of ground cloves
- 5 cups Basic Chicken Broth
- ½ cup raisins (golden or brown)
- 1 teaspoon saffron
- 5 ounces uncooked couscous
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- Harissa (optional)
Cut the chicken into serving pieces (such as breasts and thighs). Finely chop the onion and cloves. Peel the ginger (removing the thinnest layer possible) and finely chop or grate the root. Dice the dried apricots.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Brown the chicken parts for 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the pan and reserve. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan.
Over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the pan with the chicken fat for 3 minutes. Stir in the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves, and cook for 1 minute.
Add the broth to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen all the cooked-on bits. Add the apricots, raisins, saffron, and the reserved chicken. Bring to a medium simmer, cover, and cook for 45 to 60 minutes. Take off the heat.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken pieces, discarding the skin and the bones. Remove all visible fat from the pan. Coarsely chop the chicken and set aside.
Add the couscous to the pan, replace the lid, and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and stir well. Replace the cover and let stand for 1 to 2 more minutes, off the heat.
Garnish with the almond slices and a very small dollop of the harissa, and serve.