Martha’s Chicken & Israeli Couscous with Tomato & Lemon

I've subscribed to Martha Stewart Living for awhile now, but I haven't actually cooked anything from any of the magazines…at least, I hadn't (past tense) until today.  Today, I decided to try the super-yummy-looking Chicken & Israeli Couscous with Tomato & Lemon dish that I have been eying since first seeing it in my January 2009 MS Living mag.


I've been wanting to try Israeli couscous for awhile now, and since I already had the wine leftover from my pork dinner the other night, I figured I may as well get the other ingredients today to make this dish.


I got the Israeli couscous earlier today and hubby got the veggies – tomatoes, onion, garlic, and peas.  Can you tell yet the other reason I wanted to make this dish?  It's touted in the mag as being healthy!  Woohoo!  Lots of us could use this to help us out with our '09 resolutions, no?


Oh, and do you see this stuff?  It's threads of gold…I mean…saffron.  This is my first time cooking with saffron because the stuff is so. darn. expensive.  I've seen lots of tasty meals that I've mentally noted to try when I actually have saffron, so maybe now that I have some in the pantry, I'll give those recipes a go, too.  If you're worried about the cost of the saffron, you could probably leave the saffron out of this dish and it would probably still be quite tasty.


If you're on the fence about whether you want to try this or not…here's three more reasons to cook this: 1. It's super easy 2. It only uses one pot and 3. It's pretty darn fast.


Just look at all that healthy goodness bubbling away!


I have to say, it's so nice to try another grain to break from the typical starch sides I usually do, like rice or pasta.  This recipe is definitely a keeper. The soft couscous balls reminded me a bit of orzo in taste and texture.  The sliced roma tomatoes seemed a bit large at first, but cooked down to the perfect size.  The onions almost melted away into all the hot couscous, but in a good way, and the fresh bursts of peas made the dish taste extra fresh and light.  The chicken was also quite tender cooked in the chicken broth and wine as the couscous simmered away.  Yum!


Chicken & Israeli Couscous with Tomato & Lemon
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living – January 2009

My Note: You could probably use however many chicken breasts you want (within reason, 2-6) or even use chicken tenderloins.  The original recipe called for skinless chicken thighs, but I don't like those, so I subbed boneless chicken breasts)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 roma or plum tomatoes (cut lengthwise into 6 slices)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 strips lemon peel
  • pinch saffron
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, i.e. Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving (optional)


  1. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add couscous, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Transfer to a bowl, and return skillet to heat.
  2. Add other 1 Tbsp oil to skillet.  Salt & pepper chicken, cook chicken on side with salt & pepper and salt & pepper other side.  Cook chicken until browned on both sides (4-6 minutes per side).  Transfer to a plate, reserving drippings in skillet.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, garlic, lemon peel, and saffron, and cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes begin to break down, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Return chicken to skillet.  Add wine to deglaze pan and scrape brown bits off pan.  Cook for 4 minutes.  Add stock, salt, and couscous, and stir.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until couscous is tender and chicken is cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes.  Stir in peas, and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.  Serve immediately with lemon.

According to the magazine, the original recipe (which is pretty much the same as the adapted above) contains, per serving: 446 calories, 3 g saturated fat, 9 g unsaturated fat, 86 mg cholesterol, 45 g carbohydrates, 342 mg sodium, 32 g protein, 9 g fiber – I imagine the adapted recipe has similar nutritional values.

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