Hye Thyme Cafe: Smoked Mozzarella & Tomato Chicken Couscous

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)


Friday, August 15, 2014

Smoked Mozzarella & Tomato Chicken Couscous



Are you familiar with Wildtree? I hadn’t heard of them until recently, when my friend Michele joined their family of home-based hosts(esses). Much like Tupperware or The Pampered Chef, Wildtree is a home-based business offering home tastings, freezer meal workshops, online and direct orders. Their line of products is GMO free, all-natural, and largely organic, ranging from spice blends to baking mixes, soups, and flavored grapeseed oil. They even have gluten-free mixes and go so far as to maintain a peanut-free facility.

I received a few samples to play with, the first being their Smoked Mozzarella & Tomato Blend. The package offers suggestions, such as reconstituting the mixture in a bit of water, then blending with cream cheese to create a schmear for your favorite bagels or to stuff celery. Another option is to combine the seasoning mix with grapeseed oil and toss with pasta.

I had picked up a box of coucous on my last trip to the grocery store, and I had one lonely chicken breast in the refrigerator to use up, so I decided to put them both to use when trying out my sample.

INGREDIENTS :
1 chicken breast
Assorted herbs/veggies as desired  *
Chicken broth
½ t salt
½ t black pepper
1 c couscous
3 T butter
2 T Smoked Mozzarella & Tomato Blend
1 T olive oil (or grapeseed, canola …)
Fresh parsley


*    When it comes to the chicken, you could certainly skip the cooking process by using leftover cooked chicken, or even a rotisserie chicken. I poached a single breast in chicken broth with the salt and pepper, half of a large sweet onion (kept intact to dice later and add to the couscous), and a few stalks of celery.
  1. In a small pot, cover the chicken with 2-3 c chicken broth and whatever herbs/veggies you like to use (or need to clean out of the fridge).
  2. Bring up to a slow boil, season with the salt and pepper, and reduce to a gentle simmer until tender.
  3. Drain the chicken, reserving 2c of the broth and, if you like, the onion like I did (you could add some raw onion later, but I preferred to use the cooked onion in this hot dish. I would have used fresh raw onion if making a cold couscous salad.
  4. I usually shred chicken in my food processor using the plastic dough blade, but since I was already using it anyhow, I decided to toss it in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment. If you don’t have or don’t want to use either, you can petite dice the chicken, or use two forks to shred it.
  5. In a small prep bowl, blend the olive oil with the Smoked Mozzarella & Tomato Blend to give it a few minutes to absorb while you attend to your couscous.
  6. I gave the pot I poached my chicken in a quick rinse and used that for the couscous – add the 1c couscous, 3T butter, and 2c reserved broth to the pot, bring it up to a boil, then turn off the stove, cover the pot, and leave it alone to absorb the broth.
  7. As you can see from the pictures, I had actually used 2¼ c broth, thinking the chicken would benefit from the extra moisture, but that didn’t turn out to be necessary. After most of the broth has been absorbed, stir in the herb blend, chicken, and onion, cover again and let sit for about 5”.
  8. Just before serving, fluff with a fork, tossing with a few tablespoons of fresh parsley if desired. I rarely use a whole bunch of parsley at a time, so I like to chop it all and store the extra in a small zip-lock bag in the freezer. Unlike what you see all over Pinterest, there is no need to freeze it in ice cubes or blocks of olive oil. Just make sure it's dry, and squeeze out as much of the air as you can when closing the bag so it doesn't develop a lot of ice crystals.  Pinch off whatever amount you need at a time and re-seal.

I love that you can see all the little flecks of tomato throughout, and the smokiness of the mozzarella did shine through, but I would definitely have increased the amount of the seasoning mix if I had more to work with.




















If you're interested in checking out the possibility of becoming a Wildtree representative or hosting a party, I'm sure Michele would be happy to help you out.  Or maybe you just want to place an order or check out their recipe section.  By the way, another product they offer is organic coconut oil, which I noticed is a lot cheaper than what I have seen in stores in my area!

Their Mission Statement :



P.S.  I microwaved some of the leftovers last night, and it was even better the second time around.  I love that smoky flavor!!



2 comments:

  1. schmear is a good word.
    This sounds like a delicious clean-out-the-fridge dish. I'm going to have to try it.

    ReplyDelete

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