Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cookbook Challenge - Week 5 - Chicken with Fennel, Carrots & Couscous

This week I went overboard with my cookbook challenge - I actually had 4 items on my menu from my newest, and now absolute FAVORITE, cookbook - Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients. This book is from Whole Living Magazine, part of the Martha Stewart 'empire'. I've always found her recipes to be well constructed and tested - these are no exception! Every single one I made was excellent. In fact I think I may be cooking from this cookbook again next week.

The recipe I'm featuring here is one that used an item I'd never cooked with before - fennel. I was hesitant because generally anise is not a flavor I love - however cooked fennel in this dish does not taste at all like the anise I think of in baked goods. I enjoyed its texture and flavor and will definitely use it again. I love trying new vegetables! I made a couple adjustments to the recipe (instead of all dried apricot, I subbed 1/2 apricot and 1/2 golden raisins), and I think next time I might add some toasted pine nuts or almonds on top for garnish and extra nutritional value.

(photo from Whole Living)
Chicken Breasts with Fennel, Carrots and Couscous
serves 4
(slightly adapted by me)

  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup couscous
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (6-8oz each)
  • 1 3/4 tsp paprika
  • coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 TB canola oil
  • 1 fennel bulb (trim, core, thinly slice)
  • 3 large carrots (peeled & thinly sliced)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots (preferably unsulfured), chopped
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup black olives, halved (I used sliced black olives as that's what I had)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  1. Pat chicken dry. Rub both sides with 3/4 tsp paprika and 1/2 tsp salt. Season with pepper. In large skillet, heat 1 TB oil over med-high. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side, then transfer to plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 1 TB oil. When heated, add fennel and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are crisp tender and lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Add remaining 1 tsp paprika, the cumin, and 1/4 tsp salt, season with pepper. Cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add chicken and any accumulated juices from the plate, to the skillet, along with the apricots, olives, orange juice and broth. Cover and simmer until vegetables are soft and chicken is cooked through. 12-15 minutes.
  4. Bring water to boil in small saucepan, add couscous and stir. Cover and let stand until tender, about 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
per serving: 492 calories, 1.4g saturated fat, 8.9g unsaturated fat, 99mg cholesterol, 50g carbohydrates, 46.5g protein, 703mg sodium, 6.5g fiber.


  1. We are having this for dinner tonight. Except, instead of fennel, I had to use celery. I love fennel, but the grocery store was out. When I saw they were out I thought, "I guess more people follow Jackie's blog than I thought!" :)

  2. LOL! I'm certain there's not THAT many people reading my blog :) I've actually seen a lot lately about using celery - as in using the leaves, all of it - in cooking and salads. I hope you enjoyed the dish!