Monday, April 19, 2010

Roasted chicken breasts with asparagus and cherry tomatoes over couscous

I love Jamie Oliver. Anyone who even attempts to address the abysmal nature of school lunches is a good egg in my book. Also, he makes some seriously tasty food.

This is a great almost one-pot meal (a baking dish and a small pot for the couscous). It's extremely healthy and easy to adapt to the seasons - just use whatever vegetables you have! I did take issue with the cooking method, however. According to the recipe you're supposed to bake the asparagus and tomatoes together with the chicken for the full time, and I knew in the back of my head this was going to end with mushy asparagus, but I gave it a shot... Mistake. Next time, because I'll definitely make this again, I'll start the chicken frying in a pan first and then add my vegetables and pop it in the oven to finish.

Have I mentioned I have the bittiest little green baby cherry tomato growing in the garden? It's been really crappy here lately or I'd have a picture. It's adorable. And as soon as it's big enough, Mama's gonna eat it.

(Yes, this was way too much vegetation for two people. I should have saved some of the asparagus.)

Jamie called for rosemary, pretty much the only herb not growing in my garden. I'm sure you could substitute anything, though. Thyme would have been great, basil is an obvious choice, oregano, dill, the possibilities are endless. Use what you've got and what looks good!

1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
2/3 cup low sodium chicken stock (homemade is best)

1 bunch asparagus (more like 2/3 of a bunch - save a few stalks for a frittata!)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
few stalks rosemary
2 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (I bought them bone-in and just removed them)

good balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a small pot over medium heat, bring your chicken stock to a boil. Stir in a pinch of kosher salt and your couscous, then cover and turn off the heat.

Trim the woody ends off your asparagus and cut into manageable pieces. Halve your cherry tomatoes and add to the asparagus. Mince the leaves from one stalk of rosemary and add it to the bowl, tossing it all with a glug of olive oil, good pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Rinse and pat dry your chicken breasts. Season on both sides.

Now, Jamie says to just plop your chicken on top of the veggies in a baking dish and put it all in the oven. And if you like mushy asparagus, by all means, do that. I'm going to recommend heating a little olive oil in an oven-proof skillet and pan frying your chicken breasts for 2 to 3 minutes on each side first, adorning each with a little rosemary sprig, then adding your asparagus and tomatoes. Pop it in the oven until the chicken is cooked through, I'm guessing another 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness.

Fluff your couscous with a fork and make a pile on each plate, then top with a chicken breast and vegetables. Serve with a drizzle of high quality balsamic vinegar spooned over the chicken.

Serves 2, takes about half an hour, and most of that is waiting around.

No comments:

Post a Comment