Lemony Greek Chicken and Couscous

When I make pasta, I usually try to keep it on the lighter side without tons of cream sauces or cheeses. We recently got a HelloFresh box that inspired me to start using Israeli couscous a bit more. Israeli couscous is a little different than traditional couscous. Traditional couscous is a very tiny pasta, almost grain-like. It cooks very quickly and with very little water. Israeli couscous (also called “pearl” couscous) is much larger and cooks much like regular pasta in that you boil it a little longer and then drain it. It is wonderful in salads and easy to lighten up with bright flavors.

This quick meal has only a few ingredients and nothing terribly odd or exotic. It comes together in about 20 minutes so I recommend having everything chopped and ready to go before you even think of turning on the stove.

Hmm, wherever will I find fresh oregano? (I have named my beast of a plant Sideshow Bob)
I didn’t need all of this but it was so pretty, I couldn’t resist cutting it.
It’s really helpful if you chop everything before you get started.
Brown chicken on first side. Turn and start browning on second side. Add aromatics then lemon, tomatoes and stock. When it all comes together (with maybe a little pasta water), stir in butter and, finally, olives.
While chicken is cooking, add oregano stems to pot of boiling water then add Israeli couscous. When it is al dente, drain (reserving some of the past water), and stir in zest, oregano, parmesan, butter and feta.

Lemony Greek Chicken and Couscous (serves 4) (adapted from Hello Fresh Lemon Rosemary Chicken Cutlets)

  • 1 lb chicken cutlets (or chicken breasts sliced thin)
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 3 T fresh chopped oregano leaves, divided (stems reserved)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and cut in half
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 6-8 oz grape tomatoes (mix of colors if you can get them), halved (click here for a trick to do that quickly)
  • 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 1/4 C kalamata olives, drained well and sliced 
  • 3 T butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 C Israeli couscous
  • 1/4 C Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C crumbled feta cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of chopped Italian parsley for garnish (optional) 

The first direction is to read all of these directions before you get started. This goes really fast when you start cooking and you’ll have both pans going simultaneously. I suggest that you have everything chopped and ready to go before you even turn on your stove.

Bring large pot of generously salted water to a boil.

Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 2 T olive oil in large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken to skillet and cook on first side until nicely browned, about 4-5 minutes. 

When chicken is browned on first side, turn and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add 1 T olive oil to center of pan and stir in 2 T oregano, garlic and chili flakes. Cook about one minute. Add tomatoes and juice from one half of the lemon. Add chicken broth and stir until everything is well combined and simmering.

When you start the chicken, add oregano stems and couscous to boiling water. When it is tender (about 6-8 minutes), drain (reserving a little of the pasta water) and remove stems. Return couscous to pot (but not to heat). Stir in 1 T butter, lemon zest, parmesan, 1 T oregano and feta. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Cover pot until ready to serve.

If there isn’t a lot of liquid in the chicken pan, stir in about 1/2 C reserved pasta water. Remove chicken pan from heat and stir in 2 T butter just to add a little richness to the sauce. Just before serving, stir in kalamata olives. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed (mine needed nothing).

Divide couscous between plates and place a serving of chicken on each. Spoon pan sauce and veggies over each. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.

So yummy!

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