2 - 3 chicken breasts
3/4 - 1.0 lb. Israeli couscous (the big kind)
1/2 C. chopped blanched hazelnuts
1 small handful (1/3 C. if chopped dry?) mixed dried mushrooms
sage, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, other spices to taste
a pinch of smoked sweet paprika (optional)
butter or olive oil or both
1/2 C. dry sherry
Put the mushrooms in a bowl and pour a couple of cups of boiling water on them. Let them soak. Later, when they’ve softened and cooled, chop them up. Don’t throw out the water they’ve soaked in.
Put a little oil in a reliable frying pan and toast the dry couscous until it’s lightly browned. Turn it out and do the same to the hazelnuts. If you have two burners and two frying pans, cut up the chicken and start browning it. Meanwhile, chop up the onions and fry in a little butter until they start browning.
When the chicken has been browned, deglaze the frying pan(s). Throw the chicken, mushrooms, mushroom broth, and hazelnuts in together. If the onions are done yet, add them too. Add some water, or some chicken or vegetable stock if you have it. Simmer 30 - 60 minutes, depending on your chicken. Season to taste while it’s simmering. When it starts looking and tasting like it’s close to done, add the dry sherry.
Adjust the amount of liquid in the pan. There needs to be some. Israeli couscous takes a while to cook, and it soaks up stock while it does it. Don’t be surprised if you find you have to add more water before it’s done. When the couscous is reasonably tender all the way through, it’s ready to eat.
Two notes. First, this goes well with preserved lemons, sharp olives, tapenades and their relatives, or jalapeño harissa. Second, it’s a surprisingly filling dish. We got three meals out of it.