When cooking this dish, remember that the chicken thighs play an important role by adding fat and flavor to the couscous and kale as the dish cooks on the stove. (Chicken breasts will yield a less flavorful dish, unless you make other amendments to the seasoning.) Feel free to swap out the kale with any other greens of your choice. You could add other chopped vegetables, including summer squash or carrots.
Also, if you haven’t had pearl couscous, you’re in for a textural treat. Regular couscous is so light, I sometimes wonder if I’m eating mostly air, but pearl (Israeli) couscous has a much more substantive bite. These little balls of pasta take a little longer to cook but are more versatile — in my kitchen, at least — than their smaller cousins.
Chicken Thighs with Couscous & Kale
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
4 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1 cup whole-wheat pearl couscous
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups very thinly sliced kale
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
Combine thyme, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with half of the spice mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and onion to the pan; cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in couscous and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until the couscous is lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add kale and the remaining spice mixture; cook, stirring, until the kale begins to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour in broth and any accumulated juices from the chicken, then nestle the chicken into the couscous. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the couscous is tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
— From “EatingWell Quick and Clean: 100 Easy Recipes for Better Meals Every Day” by Jessie Price and the Editors of EatingWell (Better Homes and Gardens, $22)