Monday, April 13, 2015

Moroccan Chicken and Saffron Soup

I was really hoping to make it through the rest of the school year without getting sick, but life definitely has other plans! Luckily, we're big soup eaters here, and a bowl of broth is never too far away, ready to be jazzed up with whatever my stomach can handle at the time (which, at the moment, is plain brown rice and maybe a diced carrot or two). Over the Winter, my mom ate a lot of hearty soups herself, and she still attributes her ability to avoid the bulk of the flu season to her daily bowls of comfort. It's easy to see why - they're always homemade, packed with veggies, lean proteins and healthy spices that fend off even the most stubborn colds.

Moroccan Chicken and Saffron Soup

Take, for example, this gorgeous and exotic concoction. Iron and protein packed chicken thighs, chickpeas and veggies toting fibre and vitamins and comforting pearls of whole grain couscous are just the headliners in the pot, backed up by an exotic array of spices including the elusive, expensive saffron. It smells like absolute Heaven while simmering, which would be reason enough to cook up a pot every few weeks if those darn crocus stamens weren't so pricey these days (and those darn squirrels would stop eating my calendula - a passable substitute - every year).                 

Whether you're beginning your foray into Moroccan food (and really, you know my love for all things Moroccan!) or you're needing one of those mid-day "pick-me-up" meals at work, this soup is perfect. Filling, flavourful, with that little "something extra" that keeps you coming back for more, it's a delicious "bridge food" for the seasons too!

Moroccan Chicken and Saffron Soup
Serves 8
1 ½ tbsp garlic infused olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced
½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1 large red or orange bell pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp crushed saffron
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp paprika
pinch ground cardamom
½ tsp coarse-ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
¼ tsp Kosher salt
19 oz canned no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 ½ cups (one 29-oz can) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 cup no-salt-added chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked whole wheat Israeli couscous (I discovered they make gluten free Israeli couscous too, so you can make this GF if you need)
  1. Heat oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes or until beginning to turn golden.
  3. Add chicken and brown all over, then add pepper, zucchini and garlic and cook until vegetables begin to soften.
  4. Stir in spices and salt until fragrant, then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, broth and couscous. Simmer until chicken and couscous are cooked through, about 25 minutes.
 Amount Per Serving
Calories: 209.0
Total Fat: 5.2 g
Cholesterol: 21.3 mg
Sodium: 608.9 mg
Total Carbs: 30.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.4 g
Protein: 12.5 g