Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Roasted Chicken with Couscous and Greens


Here's an inexpensive and flavorful meal that's interesting enough to serve when you have "company" for dinner. It's also a one-pan meal with minimal clean up, and most of the cooking takes care of itself in the oven, so you're free to get out of the kitchen.

I chose chicken thighs because I love the flavor of the crispy skin once the fat has been rendered out. But if you want to skip that step and reduce the fat content of the dish, simply brown some chicken breasts on one side and continue with the rest of the recipe. Browning the meat adds flavor and texture (in other words: it adds interest) to a dish.

A box of couscous and canned tomatoes are part of my pantry staples, and I usually have a bitter green of some sort in the crisper bin of my fridge. With those basics on hand dinner is a snap to pull together, even at the last minute. On this night I added some lightly spiced carrots on the side to echo the hint of cinnamon on the chicken. Kick up the flavor of the meal by adding some chili flakes or fresh chili when the rest of the ingredients go in the pan.

Roasted Chicken with Couscous and Greens
5 chicken thighs
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 can diced tomatoes with onions and herbs
1/2 c whole wheat couscous
1 cup blanched broccolini (see Broccolini with Parmesan for blanching)
OR 1-2 cups winter greens such as turnips, collards, kale, stemmed and rough chopped

Trim excess fat and skin off of the chicken thighs. Season the skin side with salt and pepper. Season the flesh side with the remaining herbs and spices.

Heat a thick bottomed skillet over medium high heat and transfer the chicken to the pan, skin side down to render the fat out. Cook for about 7 minutes, carefully drain away he fat, and continue cooking until the skin is crispy and most of the fast has cooked off. Remove chicken to a plate and discard any fat left in the pan.

Return pan to heat and add the tomatoes, couscous, and boccolini or greens. Nestle the chicken, skin side up into the tomato mixture so that it's all evenly distributed and transfer the pan to a 400 degree oven. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is done (test the meat at the bone for doneness)