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

Za’atar Chicken & Pearl Couscous

with Asparagus & Pink Lemon Compote

25 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

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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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    700 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
time-saving
tips & techniques
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!

Tips from Home Chefs

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:
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