Leon Spicy Couscous

This article was originally written for Southsea Food Social.

“The more urbane readers of SFS may have come across a chain of restaurants that go by the name of Leon whilst visiting the big smoke. For those who haven’t, they have attempted to rethink the concept of fast food from the bottom up, with pretty amazing results. They have also produced a cracking range of cookbooks which have some great recipes for weeknights and weekends. In fact, the third one in the series, Leon: Baking & Puddings (Book 3) has just been released. However, one of my favourite recipes is from the first book, Leon: Ingredients and Recipes. The lovely Georgie at Leon has kindly allowed me to share it with you below!”

(Not So) Spicy Chicken & Couscous

Ingredients (for 2 reasonably ravenous people)

2 chicken breasts in big chunks (skinned & boned thighs also work well)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
Large pinch of ground cinnamon
Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of good curry powder (I recommend Bolst’s Mild Curry Powder available from our friends at Akrams in Palmerston Road)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped ruggedly
Around 150g of couscous
250ml of chicken stock
Coupla knobs of butter
Handful of sultanas or raisins

Stick the chicken, some olive oil, chilli flakes, cinnamon, garlic, curry powder and a sprinking of salt in decent size ovenproof dish and leave for 20 minutes. Stick the oven on 220 C/Gas Mark 5 to preheat.

Meanwhile, stick the couscous and sultanas (or raisins) in a bowl and stir a glug of olive oil in to coat the grains. Whack the chicken stock in with it and leave with a tea towel over the top for 5 minutes. When all nice and fluffy, combine it with the chicken in the ovenproof dish and plop a couple of knobs of butter on top. Put it in the oven for 25 minutes and voila. If you are feeling flashy, top with toasted pine nuts, mint & coriander leaves and a squeeze of lemon.

This goes very well with some garlicky tomatoes – just half a few good size toms, fit them snugly into an ovenproof dish, then sprinkle a couple of chopped cloves of garlic over the top. Season with extra virgin oil and some salt and pepper. These also take 25 minutes so pop them in the oven for the same time as the chicken and couscous!