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Moroccan Chicken with Pearl Couscous and Chickpeas

Moroccan Chicken with Pearl Couscous and Chickpeas


For the Harissa-Apricot Paste:

  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste

  • 3 tablespoons all-fruit apricot spread

  • 1 tablespoon thick/aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic drizzle 

  • About ½ tablespoon or 1½ teaspoons ground cumin (½ palmful)

  • About ½ tablespoon or 1½ teaspoons ground coriander (½ palmful)

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 

  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika 

  • ½ teaspoon smoked cinnamon or ground cinnamon

  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves or ground allspice (a pinch)

For the chicken and marinade:

  • 10 to 12 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken (thighs, drumsticks, and breasts halved crosswise)

  • Zest of 1 large lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • Salt and pepper

For preparing the dish:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1 leek, cleaned and sliced

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • Salt and pepper

  • About ⅓ cup Harissa-Apricot Paste

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 

  • 1½ cups chicken stock or bone broth

  • 1¼ cups pearl (large) couscous

  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 cup combined chopped fresh mint, cilantro and parsley


For the Harissa-Apricot Paste, combine all ingredients.

For the chicken and marinade, combine and chill several hours or overnight.

Heat a tagine bottom or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO, two turns of the pan, and brown the chicken skin-side down first about 6 minutes on each side, working in 2 batches to avoid crowding pan.

Remove browned and crispy skinned chicken to a plate. Add leeks, onions, crushed garlic to the chicken drippings and let soften with salt and pepper. Add Harissa-Apricot Paste and stir, cover with the lid and allow to sweat about 3 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in tomato paste and add stock or bone broth. Let the liquid come up to a simmer, about 5 minutes. Add couscous and chickpeas, stir and nestle the chicken back into the pan, bring back up to a simmer and cover. Let cook for 15 minutes at a simmer.

To serve, add the juice of 1 lemon and top with herbs.