Gluten Free Moroccan "Couscous"

As promised, we bring you a couple recipe’s by Chicago based food stylist, Mary Valentin. If you missed our interview with her from last week, be sure to take a peek here.

Saffron Marinated Chicken for the Grill

Serves 10-12

Here’s a recipe that gives you chicken that is moist, and has great crispy skin.  This is one way that you can see that organic chickens are different, because the collagen in their skin isn’t damaged by antibiotics. You can marinate ahead of time so that it’s ready to grill when guests arrive.  It is an ideal accompaniment for our Moroccan “Cous-cous.”

2 organic chickens, cut up, with skin and bone.
2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crushed.
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper

  • Lay chicken pieces out on glass baking dishes. Put hot water and saffron in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and allow the saffron to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and spices to jar.  Fasten the lid and give it a good shake, until ingredients are emulsified.
  • Pour the saffron marinade over the chicken, turning to coat all pieces.  Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, turning the chicken once.  Chicken can be marinated overnight.

If you have an adjustable rack on your grill, put it on the highest setting.  This chicken should cook on indirect heat.  Once the grill is heated, pat the chicken pieces dry. Place the chicken pieces skin down on the grill and cover.  Cook for 15 minutes. Let the skin get good and crispy before you touch it.  You only need to turn it once.  Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until an internal thermometer reaches 165°.  Of course, you will place the chicken on a clean platter for serving.

Gluten Free Moroccan “Cous-cous”
Serves 12
This is a rich savory vegetable stew that makes good use of your summer squash and it’s a great make-ahead recipe for a large group.  This one is gluten free and a hearty vegetarian meal on it’s own.  You can make it a day or two ahead of the party, and just heat it up before guests arrive. I like to pair it with marinated chicken and spicy lamb sausage, cooked on the grill for us carnivores.

2 large yellow onion chopped in 1” dice
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 T olive oil
2 16 oz cans of whole tomatoes with juice
5 large carrots cut into 1” lengths
3 large stalks celery cut into 1” lengths
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1” dice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp saffron strands
3 tsp honey
½ tsp cayenne pepper (add more or less to taste)
½ # zucchini, sliced in ½” circles
½ # yellow squash, sliced in ½ “ circles
2 bunches green grapes, separated
2 cups cooked chickpeas drained
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 cups white quinoa
Harissa, a hot chili paste
Gluten free bread such as Udi’s, toasted.

  • In a large pot, or Dutch oven, sautee the onions and garlic until they are translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and their liquid, the carrots, celery, turnip, spices and honey.  Stir the ingredients, smashing the tomatoes a bit, and bring the mixture to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer, to remove bitterness. Make the quinoa according to instructions.

Add the zucchini and yellow squash to the vegetable stew.  Mix them in and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste the recipe at this point to see if you want to increase the spices. The Stew and the Quinoa should be ready at about the same time.

To serve:
Serve in a shallow bowl.  Guests can dish out the quinoa, top it with the stew and fresh parsley.  And surround it with a few chick peas and grapes.  Spread the harissa on a piece of toast and dip it in the deliscous stew. Mmmm

Stay tuned for dessert later this week!


Recipe by Mary Valentin
Styling by Mary Valentin and Heather Day for Taupe & Birch.
Photography by Heather Day.

Special thanks to our help from Sara Mitchell and Courtney Day.