A Moroccan-inspired supper dish, this is perfect for those evenings when you want to rustle up something tasty but don’t want to spend hours standing over the stove. You can have it on the table in about half an hour.
Generally I prefer to use skin-on, bone-in chicken for the added flavour and I think thighs have more oomph than breasts (so to speak). But a skinless, boneless chicken breast is handy if you want speedy results because it cooks so quickly. I’ve added in a number of flavours more usually associated with tagines … salted lemon and green olives … but you can omit these if you don’t like them and use a dozen or so dried apricots instead.
As the liquids get soaked up by the couscous, you’ll probably want to add a dressed salad on the side and perhaps a dollop of harissa for the chilli lovers.
One-pot Lemon Chicken Couscous
2 tbsp olive oil
2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tspn ground coriander
1 tspn ground cumin
1/2 tspn cayenne pepper
1/2 tspn ground turmeric
1/2 pickled lemon, chopped (including the inside, not just the skin)
12 pitted green olives
The zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
200 ml hot chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander plus more to garnish
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep frying pan or a casserole, ideally one with a lid. Fry the cubed chicken until lightly browned, remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the onions until soft and turning golden. Throw in the garlic and put the chicken back in the pan. Cook gently for another five minutes, then add the spices and cook for a couple of minutes more.
Stir in the chickpeas, pickled lemon, olives, lemon juice and couscous, then add the hot stock. Season with a few grinds of salt and pepper. Give it a quick stir and clamp on a lid or cover tightly with foil. Take it off the heat and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid.
Sprinkle over the lemon zest and chopped fresh coriander and stir them in with a fork, fluffing up the couscous. Garnish with a few sprigs of coriander and serve.