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Chicken Couscous with Dried Fruit

Servings: 4

Dried fruit and nuts are found in many North African dishes. What I love about this simple yet flavorful dish is that the naturally sweet dried fruits take center stage against a backdrop of chicken and savory broth. Add a second onion and increase the amount of dates and apricots for a richer dish.


  • 1-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces or left whole
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 medium or 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (about 4 cups)
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tsp. ras el hanout
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron threads
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth; more as needed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, halved lengthwise
  • 1-1/2 cups couscous
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2/3 cup dried pitted dates, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 1000
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 320
  • Fat (g): 36
  • Saturated Fat (g): 9
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 18
  • Cholesterol (mg): 175
  • Sodium (mg): 1160
  • Carbohydrates (g): 124
  • Fiber (g): 16
  • Sugar (g): 40
  • Protein (g): 51


  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ras el hanout, coriander, and cinnamon, and stir to coat the onion in the spices until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the pot, and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken in a single layer, and cook over medium-high heat, undisturbed, flipping halfway through cooking time until brown in places, about 5 minutes total.
  • In the meantime, heat the broth in a medium pan. When hot, dissolve the saffron in 1/2 cup of the broth and set aside. Return the onions and any juices to the pot, and stir until combined with the chicken. Add the saffron broth and cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Then add the remaining 1-1/2 cups broth. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the raisins and apricots, and cook with the lid ajar, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes more.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the couscous according to package directions, adding 1 Tbs. butter and 1 tsp. salt to the water (alternatively, prepare the couscous with broth instead of water). Leave covered until ready to serve.
  • Add the chickpeas, dates, and the remaining 1 Tbs. butter to the chicken mixture, and cook until just warmed through, about 3 minutes.
  • Fluff the couscous with a fork, divide among four plates, and top with the chicken mixture, ladling some of the broth over the couscous. Sprinkle with the almonds and cilantro, and serve with the lemon wedges.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • Jsprague | 10/05/2021

    This recipe is delicious! Great mix of flavor with the mix of spices and fruit. I have made this a few times.

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