For dinner on Wednesday, I decided to try another recipe from the Great Big List of Recipes sent to me by my brother when I first moved to New York. This time, I chose the Chicken Thighs with Couscous and Kale.
The Pros: it’s healthy; it’s also a one-pot recipe, so there’s less clean-up afterwards.
The Con: Not. Enough. Flavor. But I encounter this particular problem with most recipes, so I enhanced it by adding my own ingredients to make it more flavorsome. With this recipe, I also switched out a few ingredients and replaced them with things I thought would taste better to me; I switched out the kale for baby spinach, and also decided to add limes and mushrooms, along with a lot more spices and herbs.
Here’s the link to the original recipe, and below is the recipe with my own additions and subtractions.
3 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
3 limes OR 5-6 teaspoons lime juice
4 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs (organic works best)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced OR 4 teaspoons grocery-bought chopped garlic
1 medium red onion, halved and sliced
1 cup Israeli couscous (I used Near East’s Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil Couscous)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1½ cups sliced Portobello mushrooms
4 cups thinly sliced baby spinach
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
Step 1: Mix together the thyme, cumin, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Squeeze half a lime (or 1 teaspoon lime juice) into the bowl and mix well. Use half the mixture to spread and rub onto the chicken.
Step 2: Put 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. In about a minute, add one clove of garlic (or 2 teaspoons grocery-chopped garlic). Stir till the garlic is golden-brown, then add the chicken. Cook till both sides are golden brown (about 5 minutes), and squeeze half a lime (or 1 teaspoon lime juice) onto it while cooking; then transfer to a plate, without turning off the heat.
Step 3: Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet; then add onion. Stir often till the onion turns golden-brown (about 3-5 minutes). Then add mushrooms, and stir in the couscous and the remaining garlic (1 clove OR 2 teaspoons grocery-chopped garlic). Add chili powder and stir till the couscous is lightly toasted (3-4 minutes). Add spinach and the rest of the spice mixture, and stir together till the spinach begins to wilt (2-3 minutes).
Step 4: Add the chicken broth, and then gently place the chicken on top of the couscous. Squeeze one lime (or add two teaspoons lime juice), cover the pot, and cook on medium-low heat till chicken and couscous are tender (10-12 minutes). Serve with lime and enjoy!
1. At step 1, if you have the time it’s ideal to marinate the chicken for a couple of hours before cooking it.
2. At step 4, before covering the pot, taste the liquid to check if it’s appropriately spicy; if not, add more red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, and thyme.