Middle Eastern Chicken Pot and Butter-Nut Couscous


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), eyeball it
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried fruits – pick 1 or combine: figs, pitted dates, apricots, sultanas
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3/4 cup pitted mixed olives, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Heat the EVOO in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil ripples add the chicken and brown 3-4 minutes on each side. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, bay leaf and season with spices, salt and pepper, cook 5-6 minutes. Stir the fruits into the chicken and vegetables, add the zest of the lemon, olives and 2 1/2 cups of stock. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with lemon juice and turn off heat. Remove bay leaf.

While chicken simmers, melt butter in a sauce pot over medium heat. Add nuts and lightly toast for a couple of minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups stock and bring up to a boil then stir in couscous. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Serve chicken over couscous, or vice versa, and garnish with parsley.

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