Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chicken with Tabbouleh and Fresh Herbs

Chicken with Tabbouleh

Hands down, this is one of my favorite lunches. Bulgur wheat (which you can pick up in almost any good grocery store) is a grain that is mild and slightly nutty. It cooks in lemon juice, water, olive oil, salt and pepper so it is already infused with flavor before you toss in the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, parsley, mint, scallions and, if you are not a vegetarian, shredded chicken.

I make huge bowls of this around my house and its always gone lickity split. As I mentioned, it's usually a lunch dish but on warmer nights I serve it for dinner along with some grilled or warmed whole wheat pita.

Chicken with Tabbouleh

Store bought rotisserie chicken, shredded or chopped works fine here, but roasting whole bone in chicken breasts is easy, quick, always comes out moist and obviously tastes a touch better.

Chicken with Tabbouleh
adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Family Style

serves 6

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup bulgur wheat
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
Olive oil
Kosher Salt
1 whole (2 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (or 1/2 a chopped rotisserie chicken)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (2 bunches)
1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (1 bunch)
1 hothouse (or English) cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and medium-diced
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a heat-proof bowl, pour boiling water over the bulgur wheat. Add the lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Stir. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow the bulgur to stand at room temperature for an hour.

Place the chicken breast on a baking sheet and rub it with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Remove the chicken meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into medium dice and add to the tabbouleh. Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Season to taste and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. The flavors will improve as it sits.

Only roast chicken breasts if you can find them bone in, skin on. The skin protects the chicken and keeps it moist. Ina cautions to remind you that there is no substitute for fresh lemon juice.