Eating My Way Through

Balsamic Poached Chicken with Chickpea and Tomato Couscous Salad June 11, 2010

Filed under: Dinner — Nikki Wegner @ 1:55 pm
Tags: , ,

Top Chef is starting again soon, and yay, it’s being shot in DC! Whenever I watch Top Chef they throw around terms and ways of cooking, like molecular gastronomy, souvee, poach that I have never tried, nor really thought of trying.

But in an attempt to branch out and challenge myself, I decided to try poaching chicken for dinner, and guess what, it just sounds harder than it is! My old roommate attempted to show me how to poach eggs once when she came to visit me once, and I just watched her in awe. But it turns out when it come to chicken at least, poaching is a breeze.

To poach the chicken all you have to do is combine the chicken broth, balsamic vinegar and garlic in a large pot. Bring the liquid to a boil then add the chicken. You might have to add a bit of water to the pot, no more than 1/2 cup to make sure the chicken is full covered. Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for a minute. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for about 15 minutes.

Chicken Prepped for Poaching

Chicken Prepped for Poaching

After 15 minutes, remove the lid and make sure the chicken is fully cooked! If it is, remove from the liquid and place on a plate.

Poached chicken

Poached chicken

Put the chicken in your oven on the lowest setting to keep it warm as you reduce the sauce.

Return the saucepan to the burner on medium-high heat. Let the sauce cook down for about 15 minutes, or until you have 1/3 cup of liquid.

While the sauce is reducing, make the couscous.

Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Mine said to bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Once boiling, add a bit of salt and 1 cup couscous. Stir couscous then cover and remove from the heat. Let steam for about 5 minutes.

While the couscous is steaming, combine cherry tomatoes, onions, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, mint and basil in a medium bowl.

Tomato mixture

Tomato mixture

After 5 minutes, remove the cover from the couscous and fluff with a fork.

Add in chickpeas, orange zest, 1 tablespoon and salt to taste, and stir.

Add in tomato mixture, stir.

Chickpea and Tomato Couscous Salad

Chickpea and Tomato Couscous Salad

Remove chicken from the oven, divide among plates. Cover with some of the reduced balsamic sauce. Spoon a serving of the couscous salad on to the plate and top salad with almonds and feta,  and voila!

Balsamic Poached Chicken with Chickpea and Tomato Couscous Salad

Balsamic Poached Chicken with Chickpea and Tomato Couscous Salad

This meal has it all. Protein, grains, vegetables and it is delicious! Who knew poaching was so easy? Not sure I am ready yet to try souveeing anything, but maybe I will get adventurous again soon!

Balsamic Poached Chicken (adapted from Real Simple)

1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders

1 14.5 oz can low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup balsamic vinegar

3 garlic cloves, whole


Combine broth, vinegar and garlic in a large saucepan/pot and bring to a boil

Add chicken to pot

If necessary, add up to a 1/2 cup water to make sure chicken is full covered

Cover pot and simmer for 1 minute

Remove from heat, and set aside until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes

Transfer chicken to a plate, and place in oven on lowest heat setting to keep warm

Return the liquid to the burner and turn to medium-high

Let liquid simmer and reduce until you have about 1/3 cup of liquid left, about 15 minutes

Remove chicken from oven (make sure to use oven mitts!)

Plate with sauce and serve

Yields 4-6 servings

Chickpea and Tomato Couscous Salad (adapted from Real Simple)

1 cup couscous, dry

1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tsps grated orange zest

2 tbsps olive oil

Kosher salt to taste

1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 small sweet union, thinly sliced

2 tsps dried mint flakes

2 tsps dried basil

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup reduced-fat Feta


Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan, add 1/2 tsp salt and couscous

Stir couscous, cover with lid and remove from heat

Let couscous steam for 5 minutes

While couscous is steaming in a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, mint, basil, salt and 1 tbsp oil

Remove lid from couscous and fluff with a fork

Stir in chickpeas, orange zest, 1 tablespoon of oil, and salt to taste, stir

Add tomato mixture, stir

Place in serving bowl or on plates, sprinkle with almonds to top off

Yields 4 servings


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