Ode to the Red Bowl.

A few days ago, I was sorting through a backlog of recipes and pictures when I noticed a trend. Many of the dinners I make can be served in a bowl. But not just any bowl. Clearly, I have a favorite: a red ceramic bowl from Fishs Eddy.

(image courtesy of www.fishseddy.com)

The tuxedo equivalent of dinnerware, this bowl manages to make practically any dinner look stunning. It is also extremely photogenic. And since one-dish dinners are usually easy to prepare, it’s an obvious choice when dishing up recipes for this blog.

So red bowl, this goes out to you. A mini series of dishes dedicated to your bright hue. Thanks for making so many of my meals look so darn good.

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The first recipe in the Red Bowl series is a simple spiced chicken with hummus vinaigrette served over Israeli couscous and garnished with chopped pistachios (adapted from Food and Wine magazine). It’s a surprising combination of flavors (I never actually thought to put coriander on chicken), and it’s now one of my favorite weeknight dinners.

Not only is it easy to throw together after a long day of work, it’s really good. My husband even went as far as saying it’s the best dish he’s had so far this year, which means it’s officially earned a spot on our weekly dinner menu. Guess we’ll be seeing Mr. Red Bowl even more often than we think.

The versatile hummus dressing in this recipe can be paired with chicken, as it is here, used on a salad, added to a sandwich, served as a dip for veggies, a topping for pilaf or couscous and so much more. The recipe is halved from the original, but I kept the full serving of hummus so you can enjoy the leftovers for days to come. Trust me, it comes in handy when the hubby asks for the exact same dinner two days later.

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Spiced Chicken with Hummus Vinaigrette

Adapted from Food and Wine magazine, February 2011

(recipe adjusted to serve 2—except for the hummus vinaigrette cause you can never have too much of that)

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (preferably organic)

¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 cups Israeli couscous or regular couscous (I recommend whole wheat Israeli couscous for added taste and texture)

1/2 cup shelled and chopped pistachios

¼ cup pomegranate seeds (I skipped this, but I’m sure it would add a pop of color and sweetness to the dish)

1 ½ cups chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 cup prepared hummus

1/8 cup white wine vinegar (or more to taste – original recipe calls for 1/4 cup, but this can get very acidic very fast; suggest adding half that and adjusting to taste)

2 heaped tablespoons Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions:

For the chicken:

Season chicken on both sides with coriander, salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Cook chicken on preheated grill (or in a skillet over medium-high heat) 7-10 minutes per side, turning once, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Set aside. Note: the original recipe uses chicken drumsticks and thighs roasted in the oven at 450 degrees, skin side up and then broiled at the end to crisp. I used skinless chicken breast instead as a leaner option.

For the couscous:

Prepare couscous according to package instructions, using half water and half chicken/vegetable broth. (Also, I like to throw in one or two whole cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed, for extra flavor while it’s cooking). Toss cooked couscous with chopped pistachios, pomegranate seeds (if using) and ½ cup of parsley. Set aside.

For the hummus vinaigrette:

In a blender or food processor, add hummus and vinegar and pulse a few times. Add remaining 1 cup of parsley and remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and puree until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add 2 tablespoons water and puree some more. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Note: this is where I felt it needed a little extra creaminess, so I added 2 heaping tablespoons of Greek yogurt. Feel free to add this to your taste.

To serve:

If desired, dice cooked chicken into cubes and stir into prepared couscous. Or simply serve on top of a bed of couscous. Either way, drizzle lots of that hummus vinaigrette on top and garnish with a leaf of parsley or two. Serve extra vinaigrette on the side for dipping.

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