Quick Moroccan Chicken over Couscous Recipe

A quick meal is often top-of-mind on a weeknight, which might mean you end up with the usual suspects—sautéed chicken, pasta and a jar of sauce, frozen pizza, or maybe the all-too-often takeout. However, you can make this savory dinner from scratch in about 30 minutes and many of the ingredients are common spices and pantry staples.

A Moroccan tagine, a long-simmered stew redolent of North African spices, is one of the great dishes of the world. Unfortunately, a true tagine requires an impressively long list of ingredients and several hours to prepare, says cookbook author Molly Stevens, who contributed this recipe to Real Food. Here’s her shortcut version that evokes the flavors and appeal of the real thing and comes together quickly enough for a weeknight supper. Boneless chicken thighs offer the best flavor, but you can substitute breast meat—just simmer for a few minutes less, suggests Stevens. And to save time, toast the almonds in a toaster oven or in a small skillet while the chicken simmers. For a burst of color and freshness, garnish with a handful of chopped cilantro.

Moroccan Chicken over Couscous with Almonds and Currants

Makes 4 Servings

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons paprika, divided
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
¼ teaspoon curry powder, divided
¹⁄8 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup couscous
¼ cup currants (or yellow raisins)
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
cilantro, for garnish (optional)

1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft but not brown, about 6 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon each of the paprika and cumin, ½ teaspoon of the salt, 1/8 teaspoon each of the cinnamon, curry powder and cayenne. Stir to combine. Add chicken and cook, stirring a few times, for 4 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup of the chicken broth and all of the tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon each of paprika and cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon each of cinnamon and curry powder. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add remaining chicken broth, couscous, and currants, and stir. Bring just to a boil, and then immediately cover and turn off heat. Let sit for about 6 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and stir in almonds. Serve chicken over couscous.

Nutrition info (per serving): Calories 457 (187 From Fat); Fat 21g (Sat. 9g); Chol 81mg; Sodium 518mg; Carb 41g; Fiber 5g; Protein 28g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.