Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chicken with Israeli Couscous, Spinach, and Feta

I have an unhealthy obsession with feta cheese. Whenever I make salads for John and I, I always top them with a generous sprinkle of the stuff. John never wants to eat as much feta as I give him, so he always lets me finish his (which I greedily gobble up, pretty much licking the bowl for every last glob of salty, cheesy goodness). You'd think I'd just give him less, but I enjoy our arrangement.

But anyways, when I saw this recipe in my new Cooking for Two cookbook, I wanted to try it right away. I love finding non-salad uses for feta. And Israeli couscous just seemed like fun (but you could use orzo if you don't agree).

Needless to say, I loved this. I love the classic Mediterranean flavors of lemon, olive oil, and garlic. The Israeli couscous has an interesting texture, and the feta added a nice punch to it. I know I'm going to want to make this dish again and again.

Chicken with Israeli Couscous, Spinach, and Feta
from Cooking for Two

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 (6 to 8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup Israeli couscous (or orzo)
1 shallot, minced (about 3 Tbs.)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 Tbs.)
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest plus 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
6 oz baby spinach (about 6 cups)
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper; dredge with flour, shaking off the excess.

2. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until well-browned on the first side, about 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 to 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer (6 to 8 minutes longer). Transfer chicken to a plate, tent loosely with foil, and let rest in the warm oven.

3. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Add 1 tbs more oil and the couscous to the skillet; toast over medium heat until light golden (about 2 minutes). Stir in shallot, 2 tsp. of the garlic, 1/4 tsp. of the lemon zest, and 1/8 tsp. of the red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

4. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed and couscous is al dente (8 to 10 minutes).

5. Meanwhile, whisk together 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice and remaining olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

6. Stir in the spinach, one handful at a time, into the skillet and cook until wilted (about 5 minutes). Off the heat, stir in the feta and remaining lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide couscous between two plates, top with chicken, drizzle with lemon juice mixture, and serve.

Serves 2 (duh).

Download a printable recipe.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm - this sounds pretty good. Israeli couscous looks pretty good also. So how does it taste???
I can make myself free anynight you would like to cook for your Auntie - you know the one that used to bring you ice cream when you were a little boy... Forgot about that huh...

All My Love, Auntie :) xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

I'm sending Matthew your blog - he made dinner tonight and it was delicious. It looks like the two good nephews are becoming chefs...
I'll have to send a letter out...

All My Love, Auntie :) xoxoo

Anonymous said...

This recipe is AMAZING!. I have made it several times and never been disappointed. I also cut the chicken breasts into smaller pieces and pound them lightly before cooking and add 2 tsp of oregano. I think this could easily be stretched to at least 3 servings.