Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Smoky Chicken and Olives with Israeli Couscous

Hot Spanish smoked paprika has a smell that can wow you - it definitely wows me. This recipe for chicken and olives uses hot smoked paprika for it's main seasoning. Don't even think about making this recipe until you find smoked paprika. Regular paprika just will not do here.

Use whatever olives you have rattling around in the back of your fridge. I have used some mixed olives marinated with sun-dried tomatoes leftover from an olive bar. Israeli couscous is used as a little pillow for my chicken and olives, but cannellini beans or brown rice would be good also.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 shallots, peeled and halved
1 pound (453 grams) Roma (or smallish) tomatoes, halved
4 ounces (113 grams) mixed marinated olives
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 sprigs of thyme, torn in half
1 teaspoon hot Spanish smoked paprika
Sea salt, to taste
8.8 ounces (250 grams) Israeli couscous
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Just before the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken, breasts side down, pan fry for about 2-3 minutes or until the chicken releases easily. Flip the chicken and turn off the heat. Add the shallots, tomatoes, olives, garlic and thyme to the skillet. Sprinkle paprika over the mixture.

Tent with foil and place in the oven to cook. After ten minutes has passed, stir the mixture and spoon the juices from the bottom of the skillet over the top of the chicken. Allow to cook for a total of 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 74°C/165°F.

Start the couscous while the chicken is in the oven. Follow the package instructions. Salt the water. Before serving, remove the thyme sprigs and grind a bit of sea salt over the chicken breasts.

Serves 4

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