Pulled Blackened Chicken with Toasted Couscous

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Serving Size: 6

Manna, a 24-hour Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant that is just down the street from my apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, makes great traditional dishes like okra hummus and stuffed grape leaves — but my favorite by far is their roasted chicken with turmeric-scented couscous. It's a dish that should be on everyone's weeknight to-do list.

Blackened Chicken

  • 1 3-pound free-range organic chicken
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 0.25 cup blackened seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 0.5 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 0.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To marinate the steak:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry.
  2. In a small bowl, toss together the garlic, blackening seasoning, oil, lemon halves, thyme sprigs, salt, and pepper. Remove the lemon and thyme from the seasoning mixture and stick them into the cavity of the chicken. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the chicken and transfer the bird to a roasting pan.
  3. Roast the chicken until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees F, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, take the lemon halves out of the cavity, and squeeze them over the chicken. Let the chicken cool for two minutes, then, pull the meat off in chunks.

Toasted Couscous

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 0.5 cup pine nut
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup israeli couscous
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 0.5 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1.5 cup almond milk
  • 2 juice of 2 lemons

Meanwhile, to make the couscous:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the almond milk and broth and bring to a rolling simmer over medium-high heat; keep on a back burner.
  2. In another medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, pine nuts, cinnamon, and turmeric. Cook until the spices loom and the aromatics take over the room, about 2 minutes. Add the couscous and cook, stirring until it is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and pour in the hot milk broth mixture. Add the scallions. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and steam for at least 20 minutes. Season the couscous liberally with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the lemon juice. Stir in the pulled chicken shreds to combine and serve warm.