Tangy Cherry Chicken
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 ounces eac)
- 2 tablespoons thyme leaves, chopped (about 6 sprigs)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts) (a couple of handfuls)
- 4 cups chicken stock, divided
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, divided
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
- 1 cup dry white wine (1/4 of a bottle)
- 1 cup dried cherries (a couple of handfuls)
- 2 cups plain couscous
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (eyeball it)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (eyeball it)
- 1/4 cup honey (eyeball a healthy drizzling)
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- A generous handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pre-heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with the three turns of the pan of EVOO, about 3 tablespoons.
Season the chicken liberally with the thyme, salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side.
Remove the chicken from the pan to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
In the bottom of a medium saucepot, heat and toast the pine nuts over moderate heat and remove. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and 1 tablespoon of the butter to the pot and bring to a boil.
Return the chicken skillet to the burner over medium-high heat, add one turn of the pan of EVOO, then add the onion, celery, crushed red pepper flakes, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the celery and onions are tender. Add the white wine and cook until the pan is almost dry, 1 minute. Add the 2 cups boiling chicken stock and the dried cherries and continue to cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until there is only about 1/2 cup of liquid left in the pan. Turn off the heat, then add the remaining 3 tablespoons cold butter in small pieces and whisk until the butter has completely melted.
In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining 1 cup chicken stock to a boil, then add the couscous, allspice, cinnamon and a little salt. Cover pot and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Drizzle honey over the couscous and add the pine nuts, scallions and parsley. Toss and fluff with a fork to combine.
Serve the chicken whole or sliced with cherry sauce poured over it and couscous alongside. Dark seared greens or a simple salad complete the meal.