This is a bit of a fusion dish and is a great way to get a really delicious meal quickly and easily. Instant couscous is a wonderful time saver and it tastes great. My cooking method is slightly unconventional as it does involve stir frying the soaked couscous, but it works really well.
You can season the chicken breasts however you like. The night I made the dish to photograph it, I was in a hurry, so I just used a splash of olive oil and some McCormick’s Montreal Chicken seasoning. However, a healthier marinade made with two tablespoons of oil and one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with some salt, pepper and herbs of your choice tastes equally delicious.
If you want to include more fiber in your meal, you can always use wholewheat couscous. I have to confess I prefer the texture of the ordinary couscous, but I do serve wholewheat from time to time.
Of course, you can vary the vegetables in this according to what you have on hand in the fridge or freezer or what is in the garden.
To serve four adults, you need:
4 chicken breasts (free range or organic if possible)
about 2 tablespoons of olive (or other mild vegetable) oil
salt, pepper and seasonings
1 large onion, finely chopped
(red onion looks nice in this dish, if you happen to have one on hand)
2 peppers (any colour), de-seeded and chopped in small chunks
1 handful of green beans, topped tailed and sliced in half
(1 cup of frozen peas works well as a substitute here)
½ to ¾ cup flaked almonds
1¼ cup couscous
1½ cups boiling water or vegetable or chicken stock
1 vegetable or chicken stock cube (optional - only if using boiling water)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Brush the chicken breasts with oil and season them as desired. Bake at 350℉ or 170℃ for about thirty to forty minutes (depending on the size), turning once.
Meanwhile, heat about a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and gently sauté the onion until it begins to soften. Add the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften but still have a slight crispness.
At this point, you will need to soak your couscous. Put the couscous in a large, heatproof bowl and if you are using a stock cube, crumble it over top. Pour the boiling water over the couscous, stir through (you will need to stir a bit more if you have used the stock cube) and then cover with some saran wrap or cling film or an upside down plate. Set aside for five minutes.
Stir the green beans or peas into the vegetables in the frying pan and cook, stirring occasionally.
When the five minutes is up, gently stir through the couscous with a fork, and taste it. It should be moist and flavourful, but not grainy or soggy. If it does taste a bit grainy, add few tablespoons more boiling water, stir through, cover and set aside for a couple minutes.
Now stir the couscous, almonds (hold a few back for garnish) and soy sauce into the vegetable mixture and cook for a few minutes, stirring, just to blend everything together.
Slice the chicken breasts and serve them over the couscous and vegetables. Sprinkle with the reserved flaked almonds.