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The couscous is stuffed underneath the breast skin so that with each bite you get a forkful of moist meat, fragrantly spiced couscous, and crispy skin. Skin is good. Eat it once in a while. It won't kill you. For an attractive presentation on the plate, serve the chicken with vegetables of contrasting colors, such as glazed carrots and steamed spinach.
- 1 1⁄2 cups couscous
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3⁄4 cup very hot water
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1⁄4 cup minced onion
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons madras-style curry powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- kosher salt
- 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 1⁄4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1⁄4 cup dried currant
- 2 whole chicken breasts, with skin and bone (1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds each)
- Place the couscous in a medium-size bowl and drizzle the olive oil over it to help keep the grains separate.
- Stir the couscous around until all the grains are coated with oil.
- Stir in the hot water.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add the onion and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more.
- Be careful not to brown the curry powder or it will become bitter.
- Add the couscous to the skillet and mix well.
- Stir until the couscous is hot, about 2 minutes, then add the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the Tabasco, pine nuts, and currants.
- Taste the couscous; it should be highly seasoned.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Rinse the chicken under cold running water, then pat dry with paper towels.
- Split each breast in half, making sure the skin is evenly divided between the two pieces.
- Starting from the wing socket, gently run your finger in between the skin and meat to make a pocket, being careful not to pull the skin away from around the edges.
- Using a spoon, stuff the couscous under the skin, filling each breast piece nicely with a mound of the mixture.
- Try not to pull the skin away from the meat as you do thisbut if you do, just smooth the skin over the stuffing as best you can.
- It's hard to do this neatly, but when you're finished, wipe off any couscous sticking to the outside of the breast.
- Place the stuffed breasts on a baking sheet, dot them with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast until the skin is nicely browned and crisp and the chicken is done, about 30 minutes (the juices should run clear when a small cut is made in the thickest part of the breast).
- If the skin has browned well and the meat is still underdone, place a loose tent of aluminum foil over the chicken to prevent further browning and cook 5 minutes more before checking again.
- Serve immediately.