The blog world, as I am now discovering, is full of all sorts of food challenges and groups. Among them are the Barefoot Bloggers; Tuesdays with Dorie; The Daring Bakers; Whisk Wednesdays; Sugar High Fridays and Weekend Herb Blogging. In fact, there is a group that will be cooking pretty much anything that takes your fancy. Some of these groups are cooking at a level that would be considered at least close to a professional chef; others are tackling simpler fare. And for those who want to get their own creative energies flowing, there is the impressively named Royal Foodie Joust. The premise of the Joust is to create a dish that incorporates three random ingredients selected by the previous winner. I am enjoying doing these challenges because what seems to be impossible flavour combinations at first glance somehow marry up in my head as I contemplate them. A very satisfying process.
This month those ingredients are: acorn squash, oranges and sage. Unfortunately I don't think acorn squash is available in Australia (I can't recall ever having seen it anyway), so dispensation has been given to use another of the winter squashes. I chose what we would call butternut pumpkin. After contemplating a range of options, I decided that couscous might be a good way to bring everything together, either in a salad, or in a stuffing. And while I wound up using it as a stuffing, the combination was delicious enough to stand alone as a couscous salad. Even the kids kept wandering into the kitchen and nibbling at it as they waited for dinnertime. And serving it with the chicken worked extremely well - I will definitely make this again. Scrumptious.
Chicken Stuffed With Orange, Sage and Squash Couscous
1 medium roasting chicken
Juice and zest of two oranges
2 tbl olive oil
1 cup diced butternut squash
80g pistachio nuts
2 tbl shredded sage
Preheat oven to 190C. Boil the diced squash for 5 mins. Drain. Mix the couscous in a bowl with the juice and zest, olive oil, squash, pistachio nuts and sage. Add 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir again. Season to taste. Stuff chicken with the couscous mixture, reserving any extra mixture in an oven proof dish. Sprinkle the chicken with sea salt, and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Roast chicken at 190C for 1/2 hour, then drop the temperature to 170C and roast for a further hour. Pop the leftover couscous into the oven for the last half hour to warm. Allow the chicken to rest for ten minutes, then place on a serving platter and carve, allowing the chicken juices to soak into the couscous.