Apricot Glazed Chicken with Couscous
There is something so magical about the holiday season, that no matter how frustrating it can be to buy and wrap a hundred presents, or how traffic suddenly increases by 100x, or how the days grow shorter, the promise of spending the holidays wrapped around a table with loved ones can suddenly uplift and renew even the grumpiest of stooges. That’s what this apricot glazed chicken does for me. It reminds me that the most important place I can be is with my family.
And in my family, we’re usually gathered together around a table. If we’re not already stuffing our faces, we’re plotting our next meal, and how quickly we can transition from dinner to dessert without feeling guilt.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t serving a meal family-style out of one large pot somehow make the room feel more intimate? As if everyone has to work together in peace to determine who gets the drumsticks and who the coveted thigh? You grab the napkins, and I’ll pour the wine. She’ll serve couscous, and he’ll top everyone’s plate with extra toasted pine nuts we have lying around. It’s all hands on deck, and it really does make the food taste better. (Trust me.)
Growing up, we definitely ate our fair share of brisket or other braised meats on Jewish holidays. But Hanukkah isn’t actually a holiday. It’s a festival, and as such, I like to switch up my celebratory meals a bit. This sweet and savory chicken is simple, elegant, and worthy of a special occasion.
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin oliveoil
- juice from 1 lemon ((about 3–4 Tbsp))
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp + ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4–5 lb chicken, (quartered)
- ¼ cup apricot jam
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 cups couscous
- 1 cup dry white wine, (such as Pinot Blanc)
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, (+ 2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted)
- ½ cup pine nuts, (toasted)
- ½ cup dried apricots
- 4 cloves garlic, (minced)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tsp fresh oregano, (chopped)
- Heat oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, cinnamon, 1 Tbsp salt, and black pepper. Toss chicken to coat, then place skin side up in a braiser or dutch oven, making sure to pour in all remaining marinade. Cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine apricot jam and honey in a medium sauce pan, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 7-10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine couscous, 1 cup water, white wine, and ½ tsp salt, then let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous a bit with a fork, then add in toasted pine nuts, dried apricots, minced garlic, and melted butter. Stir well to combine.
- Remove chicken from oven and reduce temperature to 400 F. Transfer chicken to a large plate, then pour the couscous into the warm pan. Nestle chicken back on top of couscous, brush each piece with apricot-honey glaze, then return to the oven. Continue cooking for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160-165 F (it will keep cooking after you remove it from the oven!) and juices run clear. If you want the chicken skin crispier/darker, place it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs.