Moroccan Chicken Couscous

Although couscous looks like a grain, it is actually a form of Moroccan pasta made from durum wheat. It is cooked by steaming it over a stew or broth. It can be bought from most health food shops and large supermarkets. Buy the precooked variety for this recipe to save time. Moroccan cooks often serve the cooking liquid from their couscous dishes separately - usually in two jugs with one containing spicy flavourings, such as harissa. If harissa sauce is difficult to find, you can add some extra ground cumin and coriander to one jug for variety.
Preparation time : 30 minutes,
Cooking time : 2 1/4 hours,
Calories per serving: 435


serves 4 - 6
4 - 6 chicken quarters
4 oz (115 g) tin chickpeas
1 large Spanish onion
4 medium carrots
4 small turnips
or 2 medium swedes
2 potatoes
2 courgettes
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 lb (450g) precooked couscous 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3-4 drops orange-flower water (optional)
2 tablespoons seedless raisins Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

for the spicy paste

2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon cayenne


1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, place them in a large casserole and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then drain and rinse under cold water.

2. Skin the chicken quarters and cut them into large, bite-sized pieces. Peel and thinly slice the onion, scrape the carrots and cut them into thick rounds. Peel the turnips or swedes and the potatoes and cut them into large chunks.
3. Top and tail the courgettes and slice thinly. Mix the ingredients for the spicy paste together in a small bowl.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the spicy paste and mix well, then the chickpeas, and cover and simmer for 1 hour.

5. Place the chicken into the casserole and cover with more cold water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Meanwhile, place the couscous in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and cover with boiling water. Leave to stand, stirring occasionally, until all the water has been absorbed. Stir in the remaining oil, cinnamon and optional orange-flower water.

7. Add all the vegetables except the courgettes to the stew and stir well. To steam the couscous, put it in a large colander, place on top of the stew and cover tightly with a lid or with foil.

8. Cook over a moderate heat for about 30 minutes, until the steam starts to rise through the couscous. Add the courgettes and the raisins to the stew 15 minutes before the end of the Cooking time and season to taste.

9. To serve, pile the couscous on a wide, flat, serving dish. Remove the chicken, chickpeas and vegetables from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon and arrange over the couscous and moisten with a few spoonfuls of cooking liquid.

10. Garnish with coriander. Serve the remaining liquid separately.

What did you think?

7 people have helped to review this recipe. Thankyou!

posted by Hanah @ 12:42PM, 11/12/09
I would just recommend adding 1 pint of veg stock to the onions, paste and chick peas then simmer for 1 hour. There is no mention of stock but I guessed some liquid was needed to simmer for an hour and it was amazing. This was the first time I cooked this and I am useless in the kitchen however I have eaten this dish many times and by adding the veg stock to the recipe it worked so well!! I also didnt add the carrots, turnips or swede and just added an extra potato as thats all I had and it was really good so very versatile recipe. I drained some of the sauce and placed in a dipping dish in the middle of the table with some bread to accompany the meal. excellent recipe
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