Mediterranean Chicken with Kalamata Olives and Couscous

Mediterranean Chicken with Kalamata Olives and Couscous

I made Mediterranean Chicken with Kalamata Olives and Couscous last night and it was a hit with the family. While, I have always loved to cook, with work, Mom-life, homework, after-school activities, it is typically hard to find time to get creative. Being forced to stay-at-home due to COVID-19 has a few silver linings, and one of those is that it has provided many of us with a little more time to have fun in the kitchen and not feel so rushed.

I decided to experiment a little bit last night and I am sharing the recipe. I used a few ingredients that you might not think would work together, but it turned out to be very tasty and kid-approved.

I paired kalamata olives with the honey and balsamic vinegar to give this dish a slightly sweet, but savory and salty flavor that works together served over the couscous. The addition of shallots to the couscous gives it one more complimentary flavor.

Hope you all enjoy this dish.

Prep time: about 15-20 mins. Cooking time: about 20 mins. Level of difficulty: 1, on a scale of 1-3 with 1 being the easiest.

Ingredients

  • 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts—Tenderized
  • 1 diced Red Bell Pepper, 1” or smaller
  • 1 cup Kalamatas, halved
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 Shallot, diced
  • 4-5 Cloves diced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper, more to taste
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 cup Couscous
  • 1 tbsp Honey  
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 cups of Chicken Stock
  • ½ cup to a cup of Feta
  • ¼ cup of Green onions (optional)
  • Lemon (optional)

Shallots

Add shallots to a small pot with 1 tablespoon butter. Cook on high heat for 1 minute to melt butter. Reduce heat to low and cook shallots on low for 15-20 minutes.

Note:you can use any kind of onion for this, as long as you make sure to sweat them on low heat. That will give them a sweeter flavor that will not overpower the dish.

Chicken

Tenderize chicken—thin. Season both sides with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano.

Heat olive oil and remaining butter in a cast iron skillet (preferred) or large non-stick pan. The skillet should be very hot—you want the chicken to brown on both sides. Add chicken to the pan and cook on each side for 1 minute over medium to high heat. Drizzle honey and balsamic vinegar over both sides of chicken. Reduce heat to low, add kalamatas, tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic and cook an additional 5-7 minutes over low.

Couscous

While the chicken is cooking, add the couscous to the pot with the shallots, coating the couscous with the shallots and butter. Gently stir for one minute.  Add ¼ teaspoon to ½ teaspoon of olive oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 2 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cook on high for several minutes.

Add ½ cup to a cup of additional water as needed. Couscous cooks fast and absorbs water quickly. You want it to be light and fluffy, not dried and grainy. Add more water as needed, cooking over high. Reduce heat once all water is absorbed. 

Serving

Use a 3/4 cup measuring cup to shape the couscous. Pack the cup with couscous, and flip it over on the plate. Spoon vegetables and chicken over the couscous. Top with feta and green onions for garnish. Add a squeeze of lemon over if desired.

Vegetarian, Vegan or Pescatarian

If you are a vegetarian, use water or vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and add a dash of extra salt to the couscous. You could also substitute portabella mushrooms in this dish or a light white fish, like Mahi or Tilapia. I have not tested it, but I think it could work with a few tweaks. The feta is not a necessary ingredient. You absolutely remove that and the dish would be just fine without it.

Cast Iron Skillet

For cooking meat, fish or poultry, I recommend a cast iron skillet. The meats end up with a better flavor and a nice color and texture. Scallops and shrimp always taste 100% better in a skillet when you cannot get outside to grill. Bonus: they require less clean-up since you are not supposed to use soap to clean them.

If you do not have one, I am linking a few. One of the below is seasoned and ready to use. Typically, you have to do this yourself, and it super easy. Here’s a link on a how-to-season a cast iron skillet.

Love to hear you comments about this recipe and the salsa recipe I am linking here. If you make this with something other than chicken, please let us all know how it turned out in the comments below.

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