Pearl Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts

This makes for good lunches because it keeps for a while, a nice side dish, or an interesting offering in a potluck. Most importantly it’s easy and quick to get together.

Adapted from Foodiecrush.

2 cups pearl couscous
1 cup dried apricot
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pistachios (roasted, unsalted)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (roasted, unsalted)

For the dressing:
1 french shallot
1/3 cup olive oil
2 table spoon white balsamic vinegar
2 tea spoon dijon mustard
2 tea spoon honey
salt and pepper to taste


1. Combine the dressing ingredients.

2. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning and set aside.

3. Cook the pearl couscous (like pasta) until done but it still has a bit of texture. Drain and coat with the dressing,

4. Cut the dried apricots into smaller pieces. Add the cranberries. I aim for roughly 1 1/2 cup of dried fruits total.

5. Add the fruits to the couscous.

6. Add the pistachios and pumpkin seeds.

7. Mix well to combine and transfer to a serving bowl. This can be eaten cold or warm.

“Snapdragon” preserve

Delicious and boozy. Notes and quantities here, recipe of at the spicetrekkers’ website here.

1 cup dark rum
1¾ cup dried apricots (370g)
2 cups dried figs (460g)
2 cups raisins (300g)
1¼ cups cane turbinado sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
zest and juice of 1 orange
½ cup whole almonds
5 cm cinnamon
1 vanilla bean


  • Cut apricots in half
  • get large dried figs and cut in 6ths

Chicken apricot tajine

A simple dish. I can see myself tinkering with it. I’ll write my notes as such in the steps. Not overly spicy but still flavorful and satisfying.

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 onions, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup chicken broth
20 dried apricots
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
2-3″ of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 pinch saffron
50g sliced almonds
salt and pepper
olive oil


1. Pre-heat the oven to 325F.

In a stainless steel skillet, heat the oil. Add the chicken to sear on both sides.
sear chicken

2. Transfer to a tajine pot (or, if you don’t have one, a large enamel cast iron dutch oven, like I did). Add salt and pepper.
transfer chicken

3. In the skillet, add the onions and spices (except the saffron). Cook for a few minutes until the onions are starting to soften and the spices become fragrant, Scrape up as much of the stuck chicken bits as you can.

4. Transfer the onions to the tajine pot. I added the ginger here because I had forgotten it, but for better results add it with the rest of the spices.
transfer onions

5. In the skillet, add the chicken stock, lemon juice, saffron and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and scrape up anything left at the bottom of the pan.

6. Pour over the chicken. Spread the onions a bit to make sure all the meat is covered. Cover the pot and put in the oven for 40 minutes.
transfer liquids

7. Add the dried apricots and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

* I would probably cut the apricot up a bit and add them a touch sooner to they become a bit softer and impart their flavor to the broth.

8. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes. In the meantime, lightly toast the almond slices.

9. Serve with couscous and sprinkle the almonds on top.

Coq au porc

A one-ish pot meal, easy to throw together and warm for the cooling weather. But really the rice is the star here. I’ll have to try with dry rubs or marinades for the meat for the next time.

4 coq-au-porc (about 300g per)
2 granny smith apples, diced
12 dried apricots, diced
2″ fresh ginger
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup to 1 1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice
1 table spoon moutarde de meaux
1 1/2 cup rice
olive oil
salt and pepper


1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Season the coq-au-porc with salt and pepper. Put a bit of olive oil in a stainless steel pan and sear the meat on all sides.

2. Once all the meat is seared, set aside. Swap the stainless steel pan for a large cast iron dutch oven. Put a bit of olive oil at the bottom and set the heat to medium-low, allowing the casserole dish to warm up.

3. Dice the onions and ginger.

4. Sweat until the onions are translucent then add the garlic and rice. Stir well to coat the rice with the oil.

5. Combine the apple juice, chicken broth and mustard.

6. Add to the rice. Heat to a simmer.

7. Add the apples (with the skin) and the dried apricots.
add fruits

8. Nestle the meat back in the pot.
add meat

9. Cover and put in the oven for 25 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through, the pork pink and the rice just done. Serve and enjoy!