This is the third installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!
Make if you have: chicken, couscous, spices
With the weather starting to (slowly) warm up, I thought I’d make my go-to lunch with some sunny places in mind: A simple Cajun chicken breast sautéed in olive oil, served with Moroccan-style Couscous and a side salad.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 chicken breast
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup couscous
3/4 cup romaine lettuce
Once I butterfly and flatten my chicken breast, I season it with “Slap Ya Mama” cajun seasoning. If you don’t have any cajun seasoning, just combine 2 teaspoons each of salt, paprika, and garlic powder with 1 teaspoon each of black pepper, cayenne, and onion powder. Once it’s flat and seasoned, coat a pan in extra virgin olive oil and cook it over medium heat.
While the chicken is searing, I heat up 3/4 of a cup of water in a pot. Right before the water starts boiling, I put in 1/2 cup of couscous (more water than couscous = fluffy) and cut the heat once bubbles start appearing. Once both sides of the chicken have a good color on them, I finish by baking it in a 350 degree oven for five minutes to make sure the chicken is fully cooked but still juicy. Season the couscous with salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.
Put about 3/4 cup of romaine salad with olive oil and vinegar on top to make a nice warm-weather meal with inspiration from both sides of the Atlantic. I like to enjoy with a cup of New Orleans style cold brew coffee; the chicory in the cold brew cuts the heat of the chicken in all the right ways.
Couscous was introduced to me while studying abroad in Paris, and ever since rice has taken a backseat to it whenever I cook for myself. If there was a grain on the dinner table of my homestay’s kitchen, you better believe Carole was dishing up Couscous. I like this meal because it’s a perfect example of simplicity and variety: three essential ingredients that can bring to mind Morocco with paprika, the Bayou with cajun seasoning, or the gym when it’s served plain.