Building one layer on top of another, this Moroccan spiced chicken is a perfect example of how you can get big flavor from just a single pan.
The featured spice blend in this dish is ras el hanout. It’s a combination of cinnamon, cumin, coriander, ginger, cardamon, pepper, paprika, and turmeric. Buying all these spices separately would cost a lot, but thankfully ras el hanout is available in most grocery store’s spice section. We’ve been looking at it for years and just never knew what it was.
The recipe starts by dry rubbing chicken thighs with ras el hanout and pan searing them in a cast iron skillet. This forms a delicious outer crust on the chicken while imparting a good deal of the flavor onto the pan as well. Once the chicken is done, remove it from the pan.
Now is the time to act fast. With the pan still very hot, add in the dry couscous, cooking oil, and water. The water will immediately start to boil and steam the moment it hits the hot pan, so take care to keep back. Give everything one quick to stir to make sure it all evenly distributed, then cover and turn off the heat.
All the used cooking oil, drippings, and leftover seasoning in the pan now are used to help cook the couscous, adding tons of flavor. While the couscous cooks, you can slice the chicken. After five minutes, remove the lid, stir in the other ingredients and place the chicken on top. By compounding flavors on top of each other, this Moroccan Spiced Chicken dish tastes a lot bigger than a meal that was cooked in only 15 minutes.
Moroccan Chicken Over Couscous
Makes 2 servings (15 minutes of preparation)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons ras el hanout
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional, if your ras el hanout blend does not already contain salt)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup couscous
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 6 dried apricots, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon ras el hanout
Coat the chicken thighs with ras el hanout and salt. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the chicken. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165F, turning once, about 5-6 minutes on each side (timing will be dependent on how thick the thighs are).
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Add ⅓ cup water, oil, salt, and the couscous to the pan, cover, and remove from the heat. Let the couscous steam for 5-10 minutes, until tender.
In the meantime, slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Once the couscous is tender, fluff with a fork and add the almonds, apricots, parsley, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon ras el hanout. Stir to combine.
Serve the chicken over a bed of couscous. Enjoy!