Monday, March 15, 2010

Sephardic Chicken Soup with Couscous

I'm feeling sick and am in dire need of chicken soup. Before diving into bed before 9 pm (fun, right), I decided to put a spin on the usual mild Ashkenazi version my bubbe used to make. I've read about the healing properties of turmeric and have been looking for a use for that bright yellow bottle in my cupboard, so went for a Sephardi adaptation. Note that I'm rather congested, so my taste buds were a little bit numb (you may want to adapt the spice proportions to your tastes).
2 chicken breasts (with skin and bones)
2 bullion cubes
5 cups water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp turmeric
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp crushed lemongrass (I bought a tube in the refrigerated section by the herbs at my grocery store)
2 bay leaves
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3/4 lbs carrots, roughly cut into 1 1/2 inch coins (I leave the skin on)
1 lbs celery stalks, roughly cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved.
1 whole garlic clove
1 cup uncooked couscous
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Add water, chicken, spices (except for cilantro, salt and pepper), vegetables and garlic to stock pot. Cook at a low simmer for an hour and a half.  Remove bay leaves and chicken breasts to debone, take off the skin and roughly cut chicken. Return chicken pieces to pot and add couscous. Let cook for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring before removing from heat and covering pot. Allow to sit for 3-4 minutes and add lemon juice and cilantro.