Garlic Chicken with Israeli Couscous

Total Time:
4 hr
Cook:
4 hr

Yield:
Serves 4

Ingredients
  • For the chicken:
  • 2 whole garlic bulbs
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 4 -pound chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces
  • For the Israeli couscous:
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 celery ribs, sliced thinly on a severe bias
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large pinch of saffron
  • 2 medium zucchini, green part only (discard the starchy, seedy center), cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 thyme bundle
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced very thinly on the bias
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
Directions
For the chicken:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the garlic bulbs in the oven and roast until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove and let cool. When the bulbs are cool enough to handle, slice off the tops and squeeze the cloves into the bowl of a food processor.

Add the lemon zest and juice, cumin, and crushed red pepper to the garlic. Season the mixture with salt and puree until smooth. While the machine is running, drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil. Taste and reseason if needed.

Place the chicken in a large dish or on a baking sheet and massage the garlic mixture onto the skin of each piece-really lube it up! Let the chicken sit at room temp for up to 2 hours or, if longer than 2 hours, in the fridge. HINT, HINT: This can be done WAY ahead of time!

For the couscous:

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil-taste the water to make sure it is salty like the ocean! Add the couscous and cook until it's two-thirds of the way done, 5 to 6 minutes. Strain and reserve.

Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, toss in the onion and celery, and bring to medium-high heat. Season with salt and crushed red pepper and cook until soft, 7 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, white wine, and saffron and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes.

Toss in the zucchini, reserved couscous, pine nuts, thyme bundle, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and stir. The couscous should be a little soupy. If it isn't, add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock. Taste and reseason if needed. Remove and discard the bay leaf and the thyme bundle. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish-one big enough to hold the chicken as well-and reserve.

To assemble:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring it to medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the chicken on all sides. Be patient, this may take up to 6 to 8 minutes. BE SURE not to crowd the pan. If you do, the chicken will steam and get soggy rather than brown and crispy . . . not yummy.

Nestle the browned chicken skin side up in the prepared couscous. Cover with foil and place in the oven. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, remove the foil, and roast for another 15 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven and top with the chopped scallions and cilantro to serve.


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