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Spicy Tomato Broth with Couscous & Chicken

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Yields about 12 cups.

Harissa is a fiery condiment used in many North African dishes. If you can’t find it, use cayenne instead. Stir in the couscous just before serving the soup. If it sits for too long, the couscous will absorb all the broth. Don’t use instant couscous—it will turn to mush.

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 lb. chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. harissa or 1/8 tsp. cayenne; more to taste
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 3 medium red tomatoes peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup couscous (not instant)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken thighs, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon stick, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the stock, harissa, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Cover and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked and falls easily from the bone, about 45 minutes.

Take out the cinnamon stick and discard it. Remove the chicken from the broth and let cool. Skim any fat from the surface of the broth. Pull all the chicken meat from the bones; discard the bones. Tear the meat into 1-inch pieces and stir the chicken back into the soup.

Over medium-high heat, bring the soup to a gentle boil. Stir the soup constantly as you slowly add the couscous. Reduce the heat to low, add the mint and cilantro, and simmer, uncovered, until the couscous is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per cup; Calories (kcal): 200; Fat (g): fat g 6; Fat Calories (kcal): 60; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 1; Protein (g): protein g 25; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 10; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 240; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 95; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Rita Maas

Fantastic recipe. I have made this soup many times. It is a welcome alternative to traditional chicken soup.

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