I love the folks at Everyday Foods. What a great little food mag! This recipe is adapted from an Everyday Food recipe. They invented the concept, but I changed it in two ways that I found significant. But the genius of the recipe is that if you are on your game, this is a 30 minute meal, tops. I’ll tell you upfront what I changed. They used a rotisserie chicken, and only the leg and thigh meat. I used chicken tenders that I brined and cooked in a skillet. If you are in a rush, you could skip the brine. Also, I finished off the dish with a healthy dose of feta cheese. I think the dish is a little on the bland side without it. If you actually use a rotisserie chicken, I honestly believe you can have this on the table in 15 to 20 minutes. (This doesn’t apply if you are re-filling milk glasses and water guns as you try to chop…but a single, non-parent could do this in 15 minutes). I have found myself lately needing a big dose of green vegetables and this meal absolutely fit the bill. It is also ripe for modification and additions. I would love to hear what you do with it if you give it a whirl.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 scallions, white and light green parts sliced lengthwise
2 wide strips of lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1 pound asparagus, washed trimmed and chopped
½ cup frozen peas
1 cup couscous
1¼ cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 or so chicken tenders
A lot of feta cheese
First, brine the chicken. Do this by filling a larger freezer strength re-sealable bag half way with water and ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup salt. When the salt and sugar have dissolved, add the chicken. Set the bag aside for about 15 minutes. You can set the bag upright in a mixing bowl it it is making you nervous sloshing around on the counter. Meanwhile, chop the asparagus into approximately ½ inch pieces, slice the scallions, and cut pieces of lemon zest. Use a very sharp paring knife to cut the strips so that you can get nice wide pieces. Remove the chicken from the brine water and discard the water. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a skillet with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sauté the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side or until no longer pink on the inside. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes on a plate, tented with foil, and then chop into bite size pieces.
Clean out the pan and return it to the stove. Add the butter to the pan and once it has melted, sauté the scallions for about three minutes. Then add the asparagus, lemon zest, peas, and the water and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Remove the pan from the heat stir in the chicken. Cover the pan and let it sit for seven minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve with crumbled feta. I served this dish it with homemade hummus and whole wheat pitas. It was very good.
This is delicious cold and would make a great “take to work” meal for lunch. If you manage to save some leftovers from this dish, also keep a half of a lemon and give the cold couscous a squeeze of lemon juice just before eating it. The couscous gets a little dry overnight…and don’t forget the feta.