This dish is a cinch to prepare, and you can make it your own using fresh mint instead of cilantro, or almonds or hazelnuts instead of walnuts. Also try it with chicken breast or pork tenderloin in place of chicken thighs. Dates add a delicious Mediterranean touch, yielding a lovely sweet-savory flavor balance; for more tang, substitute dried apricots.
Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in couscous; cover pan. Remove from heat; let couscous mixture stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover pan; fluff couscous with a fork. Combine buttermilk, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add couscous, walnuts, cilantro, dates, and green onion; stir mixture gently to combine.
Drizzle olive oil evenly over chicken thighs; sprinkle both sides of chicken with remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and garlic. Arrange chicken in a single layer in a large ovenproof skillet. Broil chicken for 5 minutes; turn chicken over. Broil an additional 3 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Pour pan juices into couscous mixture; toss gently to combine. Spoon about 1 cup couscous mixture onto each of 6 plates. Slice chicken crosswise; divide chicken evenly over couscous.
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I do not like flavors of this dish at all - dates are far too sweet and the other flavors just don't come together. You taste each flavor individually, which makes for an unappetizing dish. I am forcing myself to take to work everyday so it doesn't go to waste and I'm not happy about it at all. Mediterranean cuisine may not be for me or this is just a bad representation.
Love this dish! I also used chicken broth, and substituted dried bing cherries for the dates. You have to chop up the cherries, but worth the effort. Great warm or cold. Was a hit at a football tailgate last fall!
I'm glad I read the reviews before making this. I did use chicken broth in place of the water to cook the couscous, toasted the walnuts, and I substituted golden raisins for the dates. It was good. It could use a little sweetness, as others have suggested you could use dried apricots or maybe a little fresh squeezed orange juice in the broth could add a nice enhancement...a dash of cinnamon too.
I wish I had read the reviews before making this dish. First, do not buy the special dates that the recipe recommends. Very hard to chop and large pieces ruined the dish. I would buy chopped dates. Also, too bad I did not toast the walnuts. I used chicken broth. I cannot imagine the dish with just water. The dish lacked flavor. Needs more spice. Also, my thighs were not cooked through in the time recommended. I would make the dish again, but with major modifications.
This had a pretty good mix of flavors, but nothing special. I liked the cumin on the chicken. The dates were OK. I'll try the apricot & almonds next time. Maybe cook to couscous in chicken broth instead?
I admit to tweaking the recipe from the start. I substituted quinoa for the couscous, used dried apricots instead of dates and added a little curry powder as well. The recipe doesn't mention this, but I also toasted the walnuts before adding them to the salad. I always toast nuts before adding them to a recipe. it makes a huge difference in flavor.