Easy Moroccan Chicken Couscous

Moroccan Chicken Couscous plated with a salad featured

Massive flavor packed in a quick one-pot meal

What I love about Moroccan Chicken Couscous

Couscous doesn’t get enough love if you ask me.  It’s incredibly easy to cook, versatile, and can be a substitute for rice or noodles in a lot of cases.  

I like to make Moroccan chicken and couscous because I can easily adjust the meal to be a heavier weekend mea, or a lightweight calorie conscious weeknight meal.

It also doesn’t hurt that this meal is protein packed!   One serving of this recipe is an astronomical 59 grams of protein.   This comes from the fact that couscous has more protein than rice per unit, and I was able to pack a half lb of chicken into each serving for a reasonable number of calories.

Moroccan Chicken Couscous in a dutch oven and fluffed

One Pot, All Flavor

The other awesome thing about Moroccan Chicken Couscous is that the entire meal is cooked in one pot.    If you have a nice dutch oven or similar, you can even serve it out of the same pot!

Cooking in one pot isn’t just an advantage in terms of dirty dishes, it’s a huge flavor boon.   Frying the chicken and vegetables in the pot leaves all of the flavor behind to absorb into the couscous.   In fact, when we add the water in, it deglazes the bottom of the pan, which really unlocks the flavor.   You won’t get that from a rice cooker.  :-p

deglazed the bottom of the pan

You can’t burn this Moroccan Chicken Couscous

If you aren’t sold on couscous yet, then you should know that it’s next to impossible to burn or ruin this meal.   In fact, the couscous does all of its cooking hands off, and stove off!    After you finish cooking the chicken and vegetables, you add the couscous and let it sit with the lid on and burner off.  The couscous soaks up liquid and cooks using residual heat in the pot.

What is Couscous exactly, and what are the types of Couscous?

If you’ve eaten couscous before, you might be wondering if couscous is a kind of pasta.  The answer is sort of, couscous is made from semolina flour, the same semolina used for most pasta.   The difference is couscous is made from coarsely ground semolina, and pasta is made from a fine flour.

There are many variants to couscous, but there are two major categories.

  1.  Moroccan couscous, as used in this recipe, has the consistency of tiny granules.   The small size means it cooks quickly and easily, and has a fun texture.   It’s generally the type I prefer to use
  2. Pearl Couscous.  The granules are generally larger, ranging in size from slightly bigger than Moroccan all the way up to pea sized.   They sometimes come in multiple colors, which can really make a dish pop.   The larger size allows them to sometimes be used as a substitute for rice.

For this meal, I recommend using Moroccan couscous, but really you can use either as a matter of preference.

Sides and Serving

Here are some quick tips on serving this meal.   I like to eat Moroccan Chicken Couscous with flatbread.  Usually I use my stockpile of delicious frozen naan, but it might be more authentic to use a warm pita.   

I also enjoy serving the meal with a cream element.   A traditional meal would be served with yogurt, which I can attest is delicious.   If I don’t have any on hand, I’ll use sour cream or soft farmers cheese.

 

My husband also loves to top his with sriracha if you like spicy food.

Let’s make Moroccan Chicken Couscous

Start by cubing your chicken breast and marinating for 30 minutes to two hours.   Mix the marinade from sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, turmeric, and lebanese 7 spice.

cubed chicken for Moroccan chicken couscous
cubed chicken in marinade

For the rest of the recipe use a dutch oven or large coverable pan or pot.   Heat the pan on medium high with a little bit of oil.  Once hot, brown the cubed marinated chicken on at least two sides.   Cook each side for 2-3 minutes, and when finished the chicken should be almost cooked through.   Depending on the size of your pan and chicken, you may need to do this in a couple batches.  When done, set the chicken aside.  I keep mine on a plate in the (off) microwave to keep it warm.

browning chicken in the pan

Once the chicken is done, add a little more oil to the pan and fry the onions, mushrooms, and carrots for 3-5 minutes, or until it all begins to brown.

browning vegetables in the pan

Add the spices to the vegetables, including 7 spice, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and minced garlic.  Fry for 1-2 more minutes, until the spices become aromatic.

spices added to the frying vegetables

Add the chicken broth to the pan (or an equivalent amount of water with 1.25tsp of chicken bullion), and bring to a boil.   Scrape the bottom of the pan (with a rubber or wooden spoon) to deglaze the pan.

deglazed the bottom of the pan

Add the dry couscous and chicken to the pot and stir to combine.   Cover the pan tightly and turn off the burner.   Let it rest 5-6 minutes, then fluff with the cilantro and oregano and serve.

chicken and dry couscous added to the pot
covered moroccan chicken couscous

I made a quick tomato, cucumber, cilantro, and lettuce salad to serve on the side.

Moroccan Chicken Couscous plated with a salad

Recipe for Moroccan Chicken Couscous

Moroccan Chicken Couscous plated with a salad

Easy Moroccan Chicken Couscous

Massive flavor packed in a quick one-pot meal
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 2 Servings
Calories 744 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Dutch oven Or similar large pan that can be lidded.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Chicken breast, boneless skinless thawed
  • ¾ Cup Dry Moroccan Couscous
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups carrot chopped into half moons
  • 4 oz Mushrooms
  • 1 ¼ Cup Low sodium chicken broth (or 1 ¼ tsp chicken bullion to 1 ¼ water)
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Oregano, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic about 3 cloves
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cumin Split between marinade and couscous
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon Split between marinade and couscous
  • 2 tbsp Lebanese 7 Spice Split between marinade and couscous
  • 3 tbsp olive oil Split between marinade and couscous
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cube the chicken breast and marinate for 30 minutes to two hours. Mix the marinade from sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, turmeric, and Lebanese 7 spice.
    cubed chicken in marinade
  • Heat the pan on medium high with a little bit of oil. Once hot, brown the cubed marinated chicken on at least two sides. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes, and when finished the chicken should be almost cooked through. Depending on the size of your pan and chicken, you may need to do this in a couple batches. When done, set the chicken aside.
    browning chicken in the pan
  • Fry the onions, mushrooms, and carrots for 3-5 minutes, or until it all begins to brown.
    browning vegetables in the pan
  • Add the spices to the vegetables, including 7 spice, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, and minced garlic. Fry for 1-2 more minutes, until the spices become aromatic.
    spices added to the frying vegetables
  • Add the chicken broth to the pan, and bring to a boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan (with a rubber or wooden spoon) to deglaze the pan.
    deglazed the bottom of the pan
  • Add the dry couscous and chicken to the pot and stir to combine. Cover the pan tightly and turn off the burner. Let it rest 5-6 minutes, then fluff with the cilantro and oregano and serve.
    Moroccan Chicken Couscous in a dutch oven and fluffed

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5 panCalories: 744kcalProtein: 59g
Keyword chicken, Couscous, Moroccan
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Nutrition Facts
Easy Moroccan Chicken Couscous
Serving Size
 
0.5 pan
Amount per Serving
Calories
744
% Daily Value*
Protein
 
59
g
118
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.