Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rose Petal Chicken with Green Pistachio Arugula Couscous

Four weeks ago I started my new job at iStock, and I've been busy ever since. So far I like it a lot, given that I have been learning more than in the last five years (it feels like that anyway), and my coworkers are wonderful.
It's been a while since I had a full time job and two other jobs at the same time.
Actually I don't think I ever had that many jobs at the same time.
Aside from working at iStock I also work for the Cookbook Company once or twice a week and on a more irregular bases I contribute photos to the Calgary food and beverage magazine Culinaire.
My photo even made it onto the cover last month. Wohoo!

Both of my 'on-the-side' jobs help me get a great inside on the Calgary food scene (yes, Calgary has one too) and inspire and encourage me to be more willing to experiment in the kitchen.

The recipe I am posting today was prepared by one of the cooking school chefs at the Cookbook Company. As soon as I tried it I knew I had to try this myself at home.

It is soooooo good! And somewhat different.
A light middle eastern dish with lots of herbs and a subtle rose petal aroma that perfectly harmonises with all these beautiful spices.

Here is what you need for the green pistachio arugula couscous

1 cup couscous
3/4 cup boiling water
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp butter / goose, duck, pork fat ... or both

Herb paste

1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp chopped Tarragon
2 Tbsp chopped dill
2 Tbsp chopped mint
6 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup pistachios, lightly toasted and chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 fresh green chile finely sliced
1 cup arugula

Place the couscous in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water.
Cover and leave for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile fry the onion in olive oil and melted butter over medium heat until golden and soft.
Add the salt cumin, and mix well.

To make the herb paste, place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.

To assemble the salad, add the herb paste to the couscous, mix it in and then add the remaining ingredients and gently combine.

Here is what you need for the chicken

Two to three small chickens (backbones cut out with scissors and flattened so they look sort of like a butterfly) or 8-10 chicken legs.

For the marinade

1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt (using mortal and pestel)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp rosewater
1Tbsp lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper

For the sauce

3 Tbsp rose petal jam
1 small garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp olive oil
A squeeze of lemon juice
salt and ground black pepper
Roughly chopped slightly
toasted pistachios
dried rose petals for decoration


Mix the marinade ingredients together and rub all over the chickens/chicken legs, place in a dish and marinade for 1-2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

To make the sauce, mix the rose petal jam, garlic, cinnamon together in a bowl.

Add the olive oil and lemon juice and taste for seasoning.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C.
If stored in the fridge, take the chicken out 30-60 minutes before cooking, in order to get room temperature.
Cook the chicken for 30 (legs) to 45 (whole chicken) minutes.
10-15 minutes before the time is up, brush the chicken skin with the sauce.

In the last 3-5 minutes throw on the broiler brush the chicken with the sauce one last time and give that chicken skin a nice tan and crisp.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Place the couscous salad on a plate. Arrange the chicken on top of it, and sprinkle chopped pistachios and dried rose petals over it.


  • If you can't find rose petal jam, use quince jelly or something similar instead and mix in 1-1.5 Tbsp rosewater. That's what I did. Careful with the rosewater, though. You don't want your chicken to taste like a perfume store.
  • You could also throw the chicken on the barbecue. That adds some extra smoky charred flavors.


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