When my husband & I lived in Malta we had a dear Libyan friend who had a Moroccan housekeeper who was a fabulous cook. This recipe for Moroccan Chicken & Couscous with Raisins and Slivered Almonds tastes very, very much like the chicken and couscous my friend’s housekeeper used to prepare, although she used to add some turnip and, at times, green beans. (She also used a couscousiere - which I’ll talk about another time….)
This dish is easy and quick to prepare, and the flavors are subtle and delicious. You may be surprised by how tender the chicken thighs become in 30 minutes! The chicken and veggies can be made a day ahead and gently warmed while you prepare the couscous with raisins and slivered almonds right before serving.
Feel free add whatever type of vegetables you wish – just make sure the pieces are small enough to cook in about 30 minutes. (Next time I make this, I’m going to add some – fully cooked – chickpeas.)
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Ingredients Serves between 4 – 5 Cooks on top of the stove
- 8 chicken THIGHS – skin removed – seasoned with salt & pepper
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, cut into chunks
- 4 – 6 large carrots, cut into 1/2′ slices - OR – 1/2 lb. baby carrots, cut lengthwise (If you decide to add other vegetables, reduce the amount of carrots.)
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup chicken broth – OR – 1 cup water and 1 Knorr bouillon cube. (If using another type of bouillon cube, use two cubes !!)
- juice of 1 lemon - or – 3 Tbs. bottled lemon juice (You can also cut the lemon into wedges and add it like that. I have NOT…. I’m afraid of the bitterness of the lemon peel….)
Ingredients for the Couscous
- Use any brand of couscous you wish – just prepare enough for about 5 servings. (I used one box of Near East – Original Plain, which makes 5 servings, and just followed the directions.)
- Instead of water, use the same amount of chicken broth. (I used College Inn Chicken Broth.)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 Tbs. butter
Directions for Preparing the Chicken Thighs
Add about 2 Tbs. olive oil to a large saucepan which has a lid – or Dutch Oven. Lightly brown 4 chicken thighs over medium heat. Repeat with the last 4 chicken thighs, adding a bit more olive oil if necessary. Set chicken thighs aside. ++ Don’t brown the chicken too much – you don’t want to toughen it. ++ Don’t worry if some bits of chicken stick to the bottom – those ‘bit’s will just add flavor to the dish.
Add 1 onion, cut in to chunks, and cook for 3 minutes.
Add carrots – cook for 2 more minutes.
Add 2 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. turmeric and 1/8 tsp. cinnamon. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Pour in chicken broth – OR – hot water and bouillon cube.
Add the lemon juice – OR – 1 lemon cut into wedges.
Place the 8 chicken thighs into the pot.
Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer.
Cover pan and simmer for about 30 minutes, turning chicken at intervals.
++ About 10 minutes before chicken is finished – prepare the couscous. (See ingredients list above.)
That’s it ! Your family and friends…. and maybe even your kids…. will be impressed — Enjoy!