Couscous has long been a weeknight staple in my home, because it literally just takes five minutes to prepare, it fills hungry bellies, and it’s some pretty kid-friendly stuff. This couscous affinity started early in my marriage with Near East couscous mixes. I’ve strayed away from these because, although their ingredients aren’t terrible overall, there are some dubious terms on the Near East boxes like “natural flavorings.” Hmmm… I wonder what that means…
As my confidence in the kitchen has evolved I’ve started making my own couscous pilafs. I wish I would have started this sooner, because it’s still sooo easy to make, plus you end up with a much fresher dish that’s flavored with natural and nutritious ingredients. If you’re a member of a CSA, couscous is a great dumping ground for excess CSA vegetables that you simply can’t let go to waste!
Around my local area signs are starting to pop up outside of farm stores for “fresh, locally grown asparagus.” One of the first crops of the new growing season! This inspired my craving for asparagus and this recipe. I love the young, tender asparagus that’s available early on. This recipe takes me 30-40 minutes to make from start to finish, but much of that time is spent waiting for the chicken to finish cooking while sipping on a glass of wine and letting my preschooler talk my ear off – weeknight style!
Spring Couscous and Roasted Chicken Legs
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 4 chicken legs with thighs and drumsticks
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 1/3 C toasted slivered almonds
- 1/3 C feta
- 2 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 C chopped asparagus
- 1 1/2 C sweet peas (fresh or frozen)
- 2 1/2 C chicken broth
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 C GMO-free whole wheat couscous
- 1/3 C chopped green onions
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat your oven to 375º F. Place four chicken legs into an oven-safe dish. Using 2 tsp of olive oil, coat the entire inside of the dish, as well as both sides of the chicken. Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp of sea salt and cracked pepper to taste. Place your chicken into your preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 180º F. It is important to cook to temperature and not to time, as chicken legs can vary in size.
2. While your chicken legs are roasting make your topping and couscous. If you do this start to finish, this meal will take approximately 35-40 minutes. For the topping combine toasted slivered almonds, goat cheese and chopped parsley in a bowl and set aside. You can buy pre-toasted almonds to save on time or toast them yourself on a skillet over medium heat.
3. Next, you’ll make your couscous, which is such a quick thing to make, I saved it for last. Chop 1 1/2 cup of asparagus into pea-sized pieces and measure 1 1/2 cups of peas. Frozen or fresh will work. Place both vegetables into a large saucepan with the chicken broth and 2 tsp of olive oil. Bring the vegetables to a boil.
4. Once the vegetables are boiling add your couscous to the saucepan, return to a boil, and immediately remove from the heat. This should take less than one minute. Add your green onions and lemon juice to the pot, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
5. While your couscous is resting remove the cooked chicken from the oven (the thighs should have an internal temperature between 180-185º F) and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
6. Plate with one chicken leg and a serving of couscous sprinkled with your fresh topping.