Za’atar Chicken & Pearl Couscous with Asparagus & Pink Lemon Compote

Za’atar Chicken & Pearl Couscous

with Asparagus & Pink Lemon Compote

Group Created with Sketch. 25 min
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500 Calories Or Less
Mediterranean
Our Mediterranean recipes are inspired by the Mediterranean Diet, a healthy eating plan recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans to promote health and wellness, which highlights the flavors and cooking styles from countries along the Mediterranean Sea, including those in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. These recipes showcase a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as well as lean proteins and moderate portions of dairy.
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    2 Servings
  • icon-nutrition Created with Sketch. Est. 700 Cals/serving

Though it looks like a grain, pearl couscous­, known as “ptitim” in Israel, is actually a special type of pasta. Semolina and wheat flours are rolled into little balls (or pearls), which are then toasted for nutty flavor and chewy texture. In this Middle Eastern-style recipe, we’re tossing pearl couscous with spring asparagus and serving it under our zesty, za'atar-seasoned chicken. The dish gets a refreshing pop of brightness from gorgeous pink-tinged lemon marinated in sweet agave nectar.

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Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Using a peeler, remove the rind of the lemon, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Reserve the zested lemon. Snap off and discard the tough, woody ends of the asparagus; cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces on an angle. Cut the chives into ½-inch pieces.

Cook the couscous:
2 Cook the couscous:

Add the couscous to the pot of boiling water and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and rinse under cool water for 20 to 30 seconds to prevent sticking.

Make the lemon compote:
3 Make the lemon compote:

While the couscous cooks, cut off and discard the top and bottom of the zested lemon; cut off and discard any remaining rind and white pith. Using a small knife, cut out the segments (or supremes) from between the membranes, discarding the seeds; transfer to a bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membranes over the supremes; discard the membranes. Stir in the agave nectar; season with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

Cook the chicken:
4 Cook the chicken:

While the lemon marinates, pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper and the spice blend. In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken and cook 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan. Set the cooked chicken aside in a warm place.

Finish the couscous:
5 Finish the couscous:

Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan of reserved fond and heat on medium-high until hot. Add the asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until bright green. Add the cooked couscous, lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any fond from the bottom of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and heated through. Remove from heat.

Finish & plate your dish:
6 Finish & plate your dish:

Just before serving, stir the chives into the bowl of lemon compote; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished couscous between 2 dishes. Top with the cooked chicken. Garnish the chicken with the lemon compote (including a few spoonfuls of the marinating liquid). Enjoy!

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1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Using a peeler, remove the rind of the lemon, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Reserve the zested lemon. Snap off and discard the tough, woody ends of the asparagus; cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces on an angle. Cut the chives into ½-inch pieces.

2 Cook the couscous:

Add the couscous to the pot of boiling water and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and rinse under cool water for 20 to 30 seconds to prevent sticking.

3 Make the lemon compote:

While the couscous cooks, cut off and discard the top and bottom of the zested lemon; cut off and discard any remaining rind and white pith. Using a small knife, cut out the segments (or supremes) from between the membranes, discarding the seeds; transfer to a bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membranes over the supremes; discard the membranes. Stir in the agave nectar; season with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

4 Cook the chicken:

While the lemon marinates, pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper and the spice blend. In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken and cook 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan. Set the cooked chicken aside in a warm place.

Cook the chicken:
Finish the couscous:
5 Finish the couscous:

Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan of reserved fond and heat on medium-high until hot. Add the asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until bright green. Add the cooked couscous, lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any fond from the bottom of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and heated through. Remove from heat.

6 Finish & plate your dish:

Just before serving, stir the chives into the bowl of lemon compote; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished couscous between 2 dishes. Top with the cooked chicken. Garnish the chicken with the lemon compote (including a few spoonfuls of the marinating liquid). Enjoy!

Finish & plate your dish: