Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Israeli Couscous with Chicken, Mushrooms, Garlic Scapes and Asparagus

Will wonders never cease? I actually cooked a meal at home last night - and a tasty meal at that!

This dish is based on Bev Bennett's recipe for Couscous Pilaf with Chicken and Mushrooms that appeared recently in the New Haven Register. Mama Diva passed it on to me last weekend with her recommendation. I varied the ingredients according to what I had on hand; substituting some cooked roast chicken for the chicken breast, adding some asparagus because it seemed like a good idea, and finishing the dish with some freshly grated Parmesan, because - why not?

The somewhat whimsical addition of garlic scapes is the result of my bro's largess. He's planted an enormous quantity of garlic this year and he favored me with what seems like 5 pounds of fresh scapes! I expect they'll be making their way into just about everything I cook this week. Stay tuned.

If you're hungry and in a hurry, this is the meal for you. Its quick, nutritious, filling and altogether delightful. If you don't have any cooked chicken on hand, please consult the original recipe for instructions on using skinless, boneless chicken breasts, as the directions will vary accordingly.

Israeli Couscous with Chicken, Mushrooms, Asparagus and Garlic Scapes:
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • pinch of Kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 2/3 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 1/4 cups hot chicken broth
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 fresh garlic scapes, minced (optional)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for sprinkling
  • some chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. When it begins to shimmer, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring as needed, until mushrooms are tender and just beginning to brown. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and the Herbes de Provence and saute for one minute, then season with a bit of salt and pepper.

Add the cooked chicken and continue sauteing and stirring for 2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of butter, allow it to melt, then pour in the Israeli couscous. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, allowing the couscous to toast and brown slightly. Add the hot chicken broth and stir well to combine, scraping any browned bits up from the bottom of the pan. Add the asparagus, the garlic scapes and the leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh thyme. Stir well to combine.

Bring the mixture to the boil then immediately reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until couscous is tender and most of the broth has been absorbed. Before serving, add in 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and stir to melt and combine.

Serve immediately, garnished with some chopped fresh parsley and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Ms. Bennett's recipe suggests that this is a meal for two, but I believe my version yielded enough for four. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Should you wish to go the vegetarian route, you could certainly leave out the chicken and substitute some vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Either way, you'll be rewarded with a quick and altogether satisfying meal. Round it out with a nice big salad or some steamed veggies and call it dinner. I sure did!



Same Sweet Girl: Memoir of a Southern Belle said...

YUM!!!! This sounds magnificent!!! I really need to try this recipe soon! I love garlic so I'm glad it was added!!! :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

My husband doesn't like cous cous because he says its very dry, but I am looking at your dish and it looks so juicy and nice. What time should I come for dinner daaaaahling?
*kisses* HH

Kathleen said...

This sounds off the charts delish! I love that it's quick to prepare!

Christina said...

Oh yum this looks and sounds delicious! I can almost smell it! I have never used garlic scapes!

Oh and don't be too jealous, we never get meat from J's dad. This is only the 2nd time in almost 4 years and both times we asked! He's away all week so I don't think he realizes to brings it home often.. not sure. But it sure was superior to what's in the store, so maybe we'll ask more often! :P

Mo Diva said...

If it hadnt been for the enormous amount of pad Se Ew called a lunch portion that i just consumed... i would be drooling. Right now im crying at the sight. Its beautiful and sickening at the same time!
I cant wait to make this!

The Diva on a Diet said...

SSG - thank you! If you love garlic, try the garlic scapes, you can put them in all sorts of things.

HH - yes, it was juicy and nice ... though, admittedly, that pic was snapped while cooking. I find the Israeli couscous to be less dry and it makes a nice change from pasta.

Kathleen - it was so quick! Almost too quick, since my husband wasn't quite ready to eat! LOL

Christina - I have a feeling I'm about to embark on a series of garlic scape posts! LOL

That pork loin did look amazing. I've always said, it would be great to have a butcher in the family!

Mo - OMG, I love pad se ew! I can see why this is the last thing you'd want to see right now! LOL

pixelgal said...

I used leftover cooked chicken as well--and the israeli couscous is definitely not as dry as the regular kind. Your creative touches sound delicious as usual and lord knows we could really start a garlic frond business and end world hunger--or at least end bland food.

Lynnylu said...

My husband doesn't like couscous, but he loves Israeli couscous! Also, my daughter gets garlic scapes in her CSA box and loves them. I'll pass your recipe on to her.

Megan said...

Delicious! Wow... that looks amazing. I have never cooked garlic scapes before so I like that your recipe includes them. I saw them at the farmers' market last weekend... if I see them again this weekend, maybe I'll be brave and get some!

Deb said...

Looks fabulous but forgive my ignorance - what is a garlic scape? I may have to go look this one up!