Middle Eastern Herbed Garlic Chicken with Israeli Couscous

Chicken thighs are my favorite because they have so much flavor for such an affordable cut of meat. I like to get a crispy skin on bone-in thighs, and then simmer them in rich sauces with tons of veggies or stuff them with cheese and herbs. This recipe is a bit different because it uses a marinade, and surprisingly, the marinade really penetrated the chicken in just a few hours (I can only imagine how good this would be if I had the time and patience to let it marinate overnight)!

I had never cooked with sumac before, and I am always looking for a way to use my abundance of sesame seeds (other than in homemade sushi, which I hate to admit might be more trouble than it’s worth…). Oddly enough, NYT lists those two ingredients as optional! Sumac brings a very special and distinctive flavor (and color) to this dish, so I highly recommend using it!

I paired this chicken with a simple, fragrant Israeli couscous that complimented the Middle Eastern flavors perfectly.

I’m a big fan of using plastic bags for marinades because it doesn’t get much easier than tossing it out after you’re done with it #NoDishes

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Mushing meats around in bags full of marinade is strangely satisfying. Just make sure the bag is completely secure!

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Here’s what it looks like after 3 hours of the marinating party in the fridge:

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And here it is after broiling… This chicken was SO tender and SO tangy.

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For the side dish, after cooking your aromatics, you toast the couscous in some butter.

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Add chicken stock, and simmer.

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Add herbs.

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All done!

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As for total actual cook time, this counts as a meal on the table in less than thirty minutes! (just disregard all of that time it takes you to chop up a million fresh herbs…)

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Middle Eastern Herbed Garlic Chicken with Israeli Couscous

The chicken portion of this recipe is inspired by the NYT’s Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken, which can be found here: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018244-middle-eastern-herb-and-garlic-chicken

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 large shallot, sliced thinly

4 tbs olive oil

2 tbs butter

1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous

1 3/4 cup chicken stock

juice and zest of 2 lemons

4 tbs minced fresh parsley

2 tbs minced fresh mint

1 tbs minced fresh thyme

1 tbs minced fresh oregano

4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbs sesame seeds

3/4 tsp sumac

Directions: 

  1. Combine 2 tbs parsley, 6 garlic cloves, the mint, thyme, oregano, 2 tsp salt, sesame seeds, lemon zest, half the lemon juice, sumac, and 3 tbs olive oil in a large zip lock bag with the chicken thighs. Close the bag, and massage the marinade into the chicken until coated. Place the bag in the refrigerator, and marinate for at least 3 hours but up to 24 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, add 1 tbs olive oil to a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute the shallots until softened, then add the remaining minced garlic and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  3. Add the butter and the couscous to the pan. Stir and toast the couscous until golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, turn on the oven broiler. Place the middle rack about 2-3 inches from the broiler. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, and place it in a foil-lined baking dish. Broil the chicken for 5-6 minutes, then flip and broil the other side for the same.
  5. Add the chicken stock and 2 tsp of salt. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add 2 tbs minced parsley, stir, and cook until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Garnish the chicken with a sprinkling of black pepper and sumac and the rest of the lemon juice.

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