Spring Chicken with Vegetable Couscous & Pesto

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Spring Chicken with Vegetable Couscous & Pesto

Spring Chicken is the hallmark dish of the season. For our Mother’s Day dinner I simply roasted the succulent chicken legs and served them with vegetable couscous and a dollop of pesto on top.

Couscous is the Middle Eastern pasta made from wheat dough rolled into tiny pearls. It is very versatile and works best when mixed with finely chopped ingredients like olives, cucumbers, even dried fruit. Bell peppers, radishes and sweet green peas were my choice of vegetables for the couscous this time. Their succulent crunch is really satisfying! Tangy, lemony dressing infused the pasta and vegetables in the most delectable way. Serve the chicken with a spoonful of vegetable couscous.

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Ingredients: chicken legs, baby arugula, garlic cloves, walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon, Israeli couscous, bell peppers, green peas, radishes, romaine lettuce, parsley, white wine vinegar, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Make the dressing: In a small blender, whiz together parsley, garlic, lemon zest, vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning.

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Make the couscous: Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, then drain and toss with the dressing. Add chopped bell peppers, green peas and radishes. Toss to combine.

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Preheat the oven to 400 F. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, season generously with kosher salt, Aleppo peppers and freshly ground black pepper.

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Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook the chicken skin side down for 3-4 minutes until nicely golden brown.

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Transfer the chicken to a roasting dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced with the knife (the internal temperature should be 165 F).

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To serve, spoon the vegetable couscous on each plate, place the chicken on top and finish with a dollop of arugula pesto. Place few baby romaine lettuce leaves in each plate as a garnish.

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Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Spring Chicken with Vegetable Couscous & Pesto

recipe details

Serves 6 

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken legs, free range
  • 3 tablespoons Aleppo pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For the pesto

  • 2 cups baby arugula or baby kale
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (sweet, not peppery)
  • Lemon juice, to taste  

For couscous 

  • 2 cups Israeli couscous
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ yellow or orange bell pepper, finely diced
  • ¾ cup green peas, blanched
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • Baby romaine lettuce, for garnishing 

For the dressing 

  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Make the pesto: Pulse arugula, garlic, cheese, walnuts until smooth. Then gradually pour in the olive oil until well emulsified. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Season pesto with salt and pepper to taste. You will get approximately 1 cup of pesto but you only need 6-8 tablespoons for this tart. Keep the rest refrigerated for up to 3 days or freeze it if desired.
  2. Make the dressing: In a small blender, whiz together parsley, garlic, lemon zest, vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Make the couscous: Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet, then drain and toss with the dressing. Add chopped bell peppers, green peas and radishes. Toss to combine.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, season generously with kosher salt, Aleppo peppers and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook the chicken skin side down for 3-4 minutes until nicely golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a roasting dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced with the knife (the internal temperature should be 165 F).
  5. To serve, spoon the vegetable couscous on each plate, place the chicken on top and finish with a dollop of arugula pesto. Place few baby romaine lettuce leaves in each plate.

share your thoughts

2 thoughts on “Spring Chicken with Vegetable Couscous & Pesto”

  1. I love the recipe Svitlana!!Simple and I’m sure it tastes great! Thanks for an interesting idea of serving couscous (instead of rice, veggie, or pasta)!

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