Monday, April 27, 2009

One-pot lemony chicken and couscous

A quick and easy weeknight dinner of chicken, vegetables, and couscous. The lemon makes everything taste fresh and the spices provide an unexpected depth of flavour for this simple dish.


This is a combination of two recipes: Spiced chicken with couscous and Lemony chicken with couscous. I wanted a one-pot meal with chicken thighs and couscous; but I didn't have all the ingredients for one, and didn't really want large chunks of tomatoes in my meal from the other.

My chile powder was quite dead; so the recipe didn't have the same kick that it would normally. The chile powder could easily be replaced by smoked paprika (to provide the same color but not the heat), or omitted entirely.

The vegetables in this dish could easily be replaced by your vegetable of choice (fresh or frozen). Adjust the cooking time accordingly.

If using fresh thyme, use the leaves from 2 sprigs and add them when you add the vegetables.

This recipe would work just as well with any cut of chicken (without bones). If using leftover chicken, additional olive oil may be required.

I will be making this recipe again. The lemon is defintely the strongest flavour; I liberally sprinkled lemon juice over my plate at the table. but even without the juice the zest in the meal is very noticeable in the couscous.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3


  • Chopping board and knife.
  • Measuring cups and spoons.
  • Deep frying pan with cover.
  • Wooden spoon.


1 cup Israeli couscous
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 teaspoons chilie powder, divided (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups chicken broth, fat-free, divided
1 lemon, zested and cut into segments
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup peas, thawed if frozen
1 cup corn, thawed if frozen


  1. Put the olive oil into a cold pan and bring it up to medium-high heat.
  2. Add the couscous and cook, stiring, for about a minute.
  3. Pour the couscous out into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Put the pan back on the heat and add the chicken. Sprinkle with 1/2 the chile powder. Brown well on both sides (3-5 minutes each side). Transfer to a plate and leave the drippings in the skillet.
  5. Lower the heat and add the onion. Stir frequently.
  6. When the onion becomes translucent, add the spices, garlic, and lemon zest (but not the salt). Stir for about 3 minutes.
  7. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pan well.
  8. Add the remaining chicken broth, salt, and couscous to the pan. Stir to incorporate.
  9. Add the chicken on top of the couscous. Do not stir.
  10. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm.
  12. Add the vegetables and stir to incorporate. Cover for 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables are warm.
  13. Serve with lemon segments.

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