Golden Lemon-Olive Chicken with Pine Nut Couscous

Olives, garlic and onions simmered in a fresh herb lemony butter sauce with chicken, crowns a nutty couscous in this meal to reheat or serve immediately.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 medium onions peeled, each cut into 6 wedges, root end intact
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup good quality pitted large green olives
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 Meyer lemons or organic lemons, 2 sliced, 1 zested and juiced, plus 1 juiced
  • 1 generous pinch saffron threads, 12-15 threads
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart homemade or store-bought chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric, (half a palmful)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, (half a palmful)
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2- 2 pounds poached chicken, diced or shredded
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves


Heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bay leaves and garlic and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir for 3-4 minutes, then cover the pan and sweat the onions for 3-4 minutes more. Uncover the pot and stir in the olives.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-high sided skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Slice 2 lemons and gently brown the slices, in 2 batches. As they brown, add them to the pan with the onions. Add 3 more tablespoons butter to the pan and let it melt, then add saffron threads and the zest of l lemon to the melted butter and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour, cook for a minute more, then whisk in 2 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Season the sauce with turmeric, cumin and cinnamon and let thicken for a couple of minutes. Stir in the juice of remaining 2 lemons and reduce the heat to low. Add the chicken and sauce to the onions and gently stir to combine. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal or, cover the pan to warm the chicken through and combine flavors.

When ready to serve, prepare couscous. Put the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium pot or pan with tight-fitting lid and let it melt over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and gently toast them to light golden brown. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Stir in the couscous, turn off heat, cover the pan and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and add the mint and parsley. Spoon the couscous into a serving bowl.

Transfer the chicken mixture to a serving bowl or platter and serve with the couscous.

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Rachael Ray