Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Chicken Breasts with Pomegranate Glaze, Feta Cheese and Vegetable Couscous

I love couscous, it is so adaptable to whatever you choose to serve or cook with it, and it only takes 5 minutes to cook...or steam! I did a fridge clean out over the weekend, and used up a lot of bits and pieces. One of the things to be used up were the seeds from 3/4 of a pomegranate. No one seemed to be eating them, so I decided to turn it into a glaze for chicken breasts.

I added the chicken stock, fresh parsley and red pepper that were also in there, and came up with this...

Put the seeds into a blender and puree them. Then strain the juice, pushing on the pulp to extract as much juice as you can.

Put the juice into a small saucepan, and cook at a slow boil until it reduces about half, and starts to become syrupy.

I had about 1/4 cup of juice to begin with, and ended up with about 2 tablespoons.

Cool the juice and then add in 1 - 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar...do this to taste, some balsamic vinegars are sweeter than others.

Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and ground cumin.

Heat the oven to 375F.

Using olive oil, sear both sides of the breasts in a hot pan.

Using a pastry brush, baste the top of the chicken with the pomegranate juice and place into the oven to cook.

Continue to baste the breasts occasionally, until they are fully cooked.

When the chicken breasts are fully cooked, remove them from the pan, and place in an ovenproof dish. Save the pan.

Put crumbled feta cheese on top of the breasts and put them under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese.

Place the reserved pan with the pan juices onto the stove.

Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock and reduce it down slightly, to make a thin but tasty sauce.

Make the couscous while the chicken breasts are in the oven.

In a pan large enough to hold at least 4 cups of liquid, cook:

1/2 red pepper, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

When the peppers and green onions start to soften, add:

3 cups chicken stock

When the stock comes to a full rolling boil, stir in:

1/2 zucchini, grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups couscous

Stir with a fork to combine, then turn off the heat and cover. Leave for 5 - 10 minutes.

Remove the lid, and gently fluff the couscous with a fork, and it is ready to serve! Slice the chicken and serve it on top of the couscous, drizzled with a bit of the sauce, and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. Yum!

  • You can buy pomegranate juice in some supermarkets and specialty stores. You can also use any juice instead.
  • If you want a stickier glaze, add about 1 tablespoon of honey to the juice and vinegar.
  • These breasts can be grilled (brush it on kebabs), or cooked completely in the frying pan.
  • I was using up chicken stock, but if you don't have any, or don't have enough, for the couscous, plain water, a combination of water and stock or apple juice can be used.
  • Leftover couscous and chicken went to work and school today in the form of a salad. Add in more chopped vegetables, such as cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives and fresh red pepper and dress it with lime juice and olive oil.
  • I used soft goat cheese for two of the breasts, as not everyone likes feta cheese. 
  • Dried fruit can be added to the couscous while it cooks...chopped apricots, raisins, dates.
  • Toasted chopped almonds can be used as a garnish. If you think ahead and save some pomegranate seeds, they really brighten up the plate and add crunch.
  • Try the glaze on pork tenderloin, firm white fish or prawns.
  • Stuff the chicken breasts with the cheese. Add in some cooked spinach, roasted red peppers, chopped artichokes or whatever you have available. The cheese will be softer and gooier than if it is broiled on top.
  • Leftover cooked chicken can be used to top a salad, or shredded and put into a wrap, along with feta cheese, lettuce or spinach and hummus.

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