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Chicken and Zucchini Couscous

A version of the North African classic, this recipe combines chicken, chickpeas and zucchini in a cumin spiced tomato broth. Traditionally chicken is braised in a special pot with a top compartment for steaming the couscous, but you can cook couscous, available at most supermarkets, in a saucepan in a matter of minutes.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 cups cooked couscous


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Season the chicken pieces with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and add them to the pot. Cook, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes in all. Remove. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pot.
  2. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth, tomatoes, and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt, scraping the bottom of the pot to dislodge any browned bits. Add the chicken thighs and drumsticks. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the chicken breasts with any accumulated juices, the chickpeas, and the zucchini and bring back to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the chicken and zucchini are just done, about 12 minutes longer. Add the parsley and lemon juice and serve over the couscous.

Suggested Pairing

The aromatic spices in this dish are best with an assertive, flavorful wine; color is almost secondary. For a red, try a wine from the indigenous South African grape, Pinotage. For white, try a Tokay Pinot Gris from Alsace in France.

Photo © Jennifer Causey Published July 2012

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