Another week another trio of dishes from Chef Michael Smith. This week it was:

Moroccan Couscous and Chickpeas: Page 143
Classic Chicken Stew: Page 90
Grilled Pineapple and Red Onion Salad: Page 51

First the Couscous. I’ve been experimenting with couscous with mixed results for some time now. I can get flavour in it but often found it lacking and a rather boring grain. This recipe was amazing. Best I’ve ever done by far! So much flavour and the different textures of the dried fruit vs nuts vs couscous kept me coming back for more. This is how it is supposed to be done. And like all of Chef Smith’s recipes as soon as I ate it I was thinking of ways I would change it for next time – different flavours to add, just making sure that I was following his lead with the types of textures and the amount of flavour needed for it to shine through.

The chicken stew was pretty tasty. Honestly I’ve never really had chicken stew but I found this to be like the insides of a chicken pot pie. Hubby, who normally isn’t a fan of chicken stew said this was one of the better ones he’s had, but he still isn’t a die hard fan. I found I missed the pie crust of a chicken pot pie – that’s my favorite part. But it was quickly fixed with a loaf of fresh bread. Adding the starch made all the difference for me. I think if I make it again I will do dumplings. Mmmmm dumplings.

Finally the Pineapple and Red Onion salad. I don’t really care for onions, so I tried to use less. I enjoyed the salad more because of it, but hubby – an onion lover, found it too sweet and said that he would have prefered a more balanced onion to pineapple ratio. I don’t think he’s crazy about sweet salads in general. I’m not ready to give up on this recipe yet though, I think it would be so much better if I made in on my BBQ rather than an indoor grill. And strangely enough, the fresh basil I got from the store only had about 1/2 the flavour of that from my garden – so I’m looking forward to the summer when I can see what this salad can do with a little smokey flavour and some full force basil.

Next week I’m cooking:

Penne with Red Pepper Sauce and Spinach: Page 171
Sesame Spinach Salad: Page 58
Maritime Clam Chowder: Page 34

Happy Cooking!

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