I probably picked the worst day of October to roast chicken thighs. Fresh from a few days of rain, the crisp fall weather sent me running to the oven. But the day I made this dish, it was a cool 84 degrees in Los Angeles. Sometimes this city has a mind of its own, weather-wise, and mid-fall was rapidly turning into mid-summer all over again.
But, weather aside, this recipe was quite satisfying. Crisp chicken skin, creamy couscous, and a glass of Chardonnay from one of our favorite wineries.
ROASTED GARLIC CHICKEN WITH ISRAELI COUSCOUS
Recipe adapted from Anne Burrell
Anne's recipe used a lot of ingredients that I didn't have on hand the day I wanted to make this, so I improvised. Browning the skin prior to roasting gives the chicken succulent flavor and the couscous and squash make this dish a one-pot meal.
1 large garlic bulb
1 small bundle of thyme, leaves removed
Zest of half a lemon, plus its juice
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 cups Israeli couscous
2 medium zucchini or summer squash, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup white wine
Up to 1 cup chicken stock, if needed
Preheat the oven to 375. Place whole garlic bulb on a sheet pan and roast for 35 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown.
When the garlic is cool, slice lengthwise with a serrated knife and squeeze out the roasted garlic. Add the garlic to a food processor, along with the thyme leaves, lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse to combine, then stream in the olive oil to form a loose paste.
Place the chicken in a large bowl or baking dish and pour the mixture over the top. Massage with your hands, then let sit for at least 1 hour.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the couscous and cook for about 5 minutes, until mostly cooked. Drain and reserve.
In a large sauté pan, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Working in two batches, place 4 chicken thighs, skin side down, into the pan. Cook until golden brown and the skin no longer sticks to the bottom of the pot, about 5-7 minutes. Turn with tongs and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Nestle the chicken into a baking dish (I washed and dried the marinating dish), and repeat with the remaining chicken.
When the chicken is finished, deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the chopped squash and some salt. Add the reserved couscous and toss to combine. Pour the mixture into the dish with the chicken and nudge it into all the nooks and crannies. If there isn't enough moisture, add a little chicken stock.
Place the dish on a sheet pan and cover with foil. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and roast for 15 minutes more. Serve hot.