Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Lemony Poppy Chicken with Sweet Pea and Mint Couscous
The thing about Rachael Ray is this: even though she sometimes comes across as obnoxious, and even though some of her recipes just don’t work that well, the fact remains that some of her recipes are awesome. I’m a huge fan of her Vodka Cream Pasta, for example, though I now have to use lactase for it. The recipe I’m sharing here is also one of the great ones: Lemony Poppy Chicken with Sweet Pea and Mint Couscous. I saw it on television while on vacation, and I wrote down key words on hotel paper so that I could look it up online once I got home. This recipe has served me well over the years!
2 ½ cups chicken stock, divided
1 (10-oz) box frozen peas
1 ½ cups couscous
3 to 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup flour
salt and pepper
2 lemons zested, 1 juiced
1 ½ to 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp butter or lactose-free margarine
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
10 leaves of basil, chopped
10 leaves of mint, chopped
Place a medium-size saucepot over high heat and add 1 ½ cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then add the peas and the couscous. Place a lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes.
While the stock is coming up to a boil for the couscous, place a large skillet over high heat with 3 turns of the pan of olive oil, about 3-4 Tbsp. While the skillet is heating up, place the flour on a plate. Toss the chicken in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess. Add the chicken pieces to the hot skillet. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper and the lemon zest, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring every now and then to get them brown all over. (To avoid doing two batches one after the other, I often use two pans side by side; you can cook less chicken, of course, but I like having leftovers.) With a microplane or the smallest grade of a handheld box grater, grate in the garlic the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Once the chicken has browned, add the remaining cup chicken stock to the skillet. Once the stock is hot, add the butter and poppy seeds. Stir until the butter has melted and the sauce has thickened up a bit, about a minute. Turn off the heat and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the pan.
Remove the lid from the pot of couscous, add the basil and mint, and fluff with a fork. Place a portion of couscous on a plate and top with the chicken.