Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Balsamic Chicken with Garlic Couscous

The time had come for a meal with a little meat in it, or chicken, but that’s still meat, so I set about browsing through books for inspiration. I pulled Donna Hay’s Flavors from the shelf and once again realized how really interesting and appealing everything in that book is. There are nine chapters in the book and each is devoted to a particular flavor. It shows particular flavors used in very different preparations, and it makes you stop to consider what basic tastes work with one another. This balsamic chicken with garlic couscous dish is from the garlic and onion chapter. The chapter begins with a quick discussion of types of onions and garlic and some basic preparations, and then each recipe has an accompanying photo of the delectable-looking food. It was difficult to decide which meal I wanted to try, and I ended up making a few things from the book over the course of a couple of days. I’ll be posting the other items soon.

The balsamic chicken was started by marinating boneless chicken in balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, crushed garlic, and sugar. I tend to greatly reduce or entirely skip the sugar in recipes when it’s intended to balance acidity because I like a little tart spunkiness. Two tablespoons of sugar seemed excessive at any rate, so I only used about two teaspoons. The less sweet marinade did its work for 20 minutes while garlic was sliced and green beans were cleaned. I used whole wheat couscous which was cooked with chicken stock. The chicken breasts were sauteed on each side before the marinade was poured into the pan. It finished cooking through as the marinade thickened into a sauce.

To finish the couscous, sliced garlic and thyme were sauteed in a little butter and the cooked couscous was stirred into that mixture. Kurt commented on the couscous being the best ever, and I let him know that it could be because of the half a stick of butter in it. I re-read the ingredient list a couple of times and did the weight to volume conversion a few more times to be sure, two ounces equals four tablespoons, but yes, it was half a stick of butter. It was worth it. The couscous was fantastic, and the chicken was just as delicious as it looked in the book. The marinade thickened nicely into a sauce, and it left the chicken flavorful and tender. The garlic, both raw in the marinade and butter sauteed to savory wonder in the couscous, added character to the meal as it always does. This meal was a winner from Donna Hay, and there’s more of the same throughout the book.



15 comments:

  1. This dish looks very appetizing! I will make this tomorrow!

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  2. Packed with garlic flavor. Garlic is our favorite herb. This marinade sounds great!

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  3. Love the balance of earthy colors! I bet this would be great on a bed of sauteed garlic stalks too.

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  4. good ol' couscous. i love the texture of it in my mouth, and i think it's the perfect compliment to your chicken. great, well-balanced dish, lisa!

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  5. mmmm. i love balsamic on chicken. that sounds delicious!

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  6. Lovely meal. The chicken goes well with couscus and the beans. The colors of the meal look great too!

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  7. Wow this looks and sounds good, I am making this Friday for dinner and our weekend lunch leftovers, two things I love, garlic and couscous, and the rest...

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  8. Thanks for calling Flavors to my attention. Though I don't eat chicken, the book is right up my alley. It reminds me a bit of another book on how flavors work together, called Secret Ingredients by Michael Roberts.

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  9. Looks delicious, and I love your presentation. Great arrangement, great volume. David/www.heatandknives.com

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  10. I tracked down a copy of Flavors just for that couscous recipe. You made it sound so good, and I can get my husband to try anything if I tell him it has a half a stick of butter in it :)

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  11. Thanks everyone!

    Becky-- Secret Ingredients is on my Amazon list. It sounds like a great book.

    Laura-- Hope you enjoy Flavors. The photos make we want to try every dish.

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  12. Your dish looks great.

    I love Donna Hay's recipes. The photos are always amazing and enticing.

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  13. Lisa this looks really great and something that we would love.

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