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 to create a Mediterranean Chicken infused with a few ingredients that you might not think would work together. This chicken dish turned out to be very tasty and kid-approved.
I cooked the chicken with kalamata olives, honey, and balsamic vinegar to give the dish a slightly sweet, but savory flavor. I served the Mediterranean chicken over couscous. I added sauteed shallots to the couscous to give the dish a richer flavor, along with red pepper and tomatoes for color, taste, and a forced dose of veggie for the kids.
Mediterranean Chicken Recipe
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.
- 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)
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.
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 and Substitutes
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.
Substitutions for Vegetarian 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 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.
Why Use a 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 cast-iron 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 several. I use one about 60% of the time. I included one pre-seasoned cast-iron, but I would recommend you seasoning it yourself. Beatriz Garcia of Clan Kitchen provides a how-to-guide here and it has all the steps to make it super easy to do yourself.
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.