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Cous cous and Garlic Chicken

Needless to say,  I am not an expert on cous cous.  I learned about cous cous when I was a little girl.  My dad worked out of the embassy in Rabat, Morocco.  My parents were invited to a party given by the King of Morocco, and when they came home, I heard lots of stories. I wished I had been older and had been invited to the party. From what I understand, there were belly dancers at the party.  They also ate cous cous.  My dad told me that they just put their hands in the cous cous without silverware, rolled their hands around a bit, and it formed a ball, and they popped the ball in their mouths. He tried and made a big mess. I guess it takes practice.  I was never offered cous cous when we were in Morocco. However, I was always curious and wanted to try it.  Several years ago, I saw some  in an import shop in Japan, and I bought it, made it, and served it to my kids.  We all enjoyed it.  Recently, I saw some more in the import shop here in Korea and decided to do it again.

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This is the box my cous cous came in.

As for the garlic chicken in this blog, it is my recipe.  I always have a tendency to experiment in the kitchen, and this was one of my experiments several years ago that worked, so from time to time, I make it again as I did for dinner this evening.

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I set my oven on 375 Fahrenheit. 
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I put my chicken in a baking pan and sprinkled it with garlic spice and salt.
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I dotted the chicken with butter.
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I put a few drops of water in the bottom of the pan.

i covered the chicken with tinfoil and put it in the oven for 20 minutes.

I took it out of the oven after 20 minutes, took the tinfoil off, turned it over, and put it back in the oven.

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After 10 more minutes, I took it out of the oven, and it was nice and tender. It was finished.

I began with the chicken this evening.  I have a tendency to use boneless, skinless chicken. I used to take the skin off all the chicken I cooked because I heard it was higher in cholesterol than the rest of the chicken, and at times, I almost become a health nut.  I use chicken without bones in it because my daughter doesn’t like the bones in the chicken.  It is a little strange because my oldest daughter was so gung ho and adventurous that she learned how to kill and pluck a chicken among other things farm people know, but my younger daughter isn’t like that at all.  She is the kind that not only must buy her chicken in the store, but she must have it without bones.  I have never killed a chicken like my older daughter, and I don’t plan on it, but living in Romania, I learned about killing chickens because my students wrote blogs about how to kill chickens.  I have plucked a chicken even though I didn’t want to, and chicken bones have never bothered me like my youngest daughter.  However, out of deference to her, I use boneless chicken if it can fit the recipe.

I begin by setting my oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Next, I put the chicken in one layer in a baking pan, then I sprinkle garlic and salt on the chicken.  I don’t want to make the chicken spicy, so I just sprinkle it. I don’t load it down with garlic.  Next, I dot the chicken with butter. I actually used “I can’t believe it’s not Butter” because I have a tendency to try to use products that are supposed to be a bit healthier.  It has actually paid off because the doctors tell my my cholesterol is extremely low.  Next, I put a few drops of water in the bottom of the baking pan because I don’t want the chicken to stick, and to steam.  After that, I cover the pan with tin foil to make it cook all the way through and not get dry on the outside and  put it in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, I took it out, turned it over, and took the tin foil off it, cooked it 10 more minutes, then turned it over, and cooked it another 10 minutes, and then it was done.

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To make the cous cous, I began by heating 1 1/3 cup of water in a sauce pan.

I actually wanted broth instead of just water, so I added some bullion to the water to make broth.

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I added 5 tablespoons of cooking oil to the broth.
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When the broth boiled, I turned it off and added a small box of cous cous and mixed it up.
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This is what it looked like after I mixed it up. It kind of looks like Cream of Wheat, doesn’t it?
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I [put a lid on it for 10 minutes.
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After 10 minutes, the cous cous was ready to eat.

While the chicken was cooking, I put about 1 1/3 cups of water in a sauce pan and began heating it.  I wanted broth, so I added some bullion to make the water broth.  I also salted it and added 5 tablespoons of cooking oil to the water.  (The Arabs would probably use olive oil.)  After the broth came to a boil, I turned it off. The cous cous I bought is instant cous cous, so when I turned it off, I dumped the box of cous cous in the water, mixed it up, and let it sit for about 10 minutes with a lid on it.  After 10 minutes, the cous cous was finished.

Usually, from what I know of Arabs, they would probably eat olives or maybe figs or other vegetables and fruit on the side, but we didn’t have any olives, so I ate a pickle and some apple on the side of the cous cous. I didn’t dip my hand in it like the Arabs do. I ate it with a spoon. When I put it on my plate I salted it again.  My garlic chicken and cous cous was actually quite tasty.

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My garlic chicken and cous cous was quite tasty.

I am not an expert in cous cous by any stretch of the imagination. I have always wondered what it was made from and just assumed it was made of wheat. My daughter asked me what it was made of, so I looked it up.  What I read actually said it was a combination of wheat and barley.  The wheat is made into semolina and mixed with barley.   If you aren’t sure what semolina is, it is Cream of Wheat.

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