A Must-Try: Golden Lemon-Olive Chicken with Pine Nut Couscous

Rachael’s latest book, “Week in a Day,” helps you become a super meal-planner. Why not cook on one day, in order to have dinner ready for five? Buy your copy now! 

If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug recently, but can’t quite hop on the next jet heading to an exotic location, we can help. Take yourself – or rather, your dinner table – to far off lands by switching up your normal dinner routine.

For instance, try the flavors of North African cuisine with this new recipe from the “World in a Day” week.

Rach writes: “Moroccan dishes (like this one) are filled with spices that are usually balanced with both citrus and something sweet, like dried fruit or honey. I combined those two ideas by using Meyer lemons, which are sweeter than traditional lemons.”

Bonus: No jet-lag!

Golden Lemon-Olive Chicken with Pine Nut Couscous

Serves 4


2 tbsp. EVOO

3 medium onions, peeled, each cut into 6 wedges, root end intact

4 fresh bay leaves

4 large cloves garlic, smashed

Salt and pepper

1 cup good-quality large green olives, pitted

5 tbsp. butter

4 Meyer lemons or organic lemons: 2 thinly sliced, 1 zested on a rasp-style grater and juiced, 1 juiced

A generous pinch of saffron threads

3 tbsp. flour

4 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought

1 1⁄2 tsp. ground turmeric

1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin

A pinch of ground cinnamon

1 1⁄2 to 2 pounds diced or shredded poached chicken

1⁄4 cup pine nuts

1 1⁄2 cups couscous

1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Photo reprinted with permission from Atria Publishing. Photographer: Frances Janisch


1. In a Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat the EVOO (2 turns of the pan) over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bay leaves, garlic, and salt and pepper. Stir for 3 to 4 minutes, then cover the pan and sweat the onions for 3 to 4 minutes more. Uncover the pan and stir in the olives.

2. Meanwhile, in a deep medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium to medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, add the sliced lemons and gently brown. As they brown, add them to the onions and olives.

3. Add 3 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet and let it melt. Add the saffron and lemon zest and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute more. Whisk in 2 1⁄2 cups of the chicken stock, the turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon and let thicken for a couple of minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and reduce the heat to low.

4. Add the sauce to the onions, then add the chicken and gently stir to combine.

To make ahead:

Let cool and refrigerate.

To serve the night of:

1. Return the chicken to room temp before reheating gently over medium heat.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and gently toast them to light golden brown.

3. Stir in the remaining 1 1⁄2 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

4. Add the mint and parsley and fluff the couscous with a fork.

5. Spoon the couscous into a serving bowl. Transfer the chicken mixture to a serving bowl or platter, remove the bay leaves, and serve with the couscous.

Get your copy ofWeek in a Day” for more great recipes!

[Top photo reprinted with permission from Atria Publishing. Photographer: Frances Janisch]

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