Tuesday, October 12, 2010

African Chicken Stew over Couscous

Sometimes, ahem, there is nothing better than a quickie.  And this stew is a quickie!  The warmth from the North African spices (cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin) is the perfect thing to fill your belly on a chilly fall evening.  The chicken here comes out perfectly moist.  I think the raisins are my favorite part of this...they balance out the spices and the savory vegetables well.  But I imagine some of you are raisin-haters, so feel free to leave them out!

African Chicken Stew over Couscous
adapted from Desperation Dinners, by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross
serves 4-6

1 can fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 box (about 10oz) couscous
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp canola oil
1 medium onion
10-12 peeled baby carrots (to yield about 1/2 cup sliced)
2 medium zucchini or summer squash
2 tsp minced garlic (fresh or bottled, I won't tell if you don't)
1 can no salt-added stewed tomatoes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
black pepper
1 tsp honey
1 generous cup frozen tri-color pepper stir-fry blend
1/2 cup raisins
1 small can (7 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a small sauce pan.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Meanwhile, slice the carrots and add to the large saucepan as you slice.  Slice the onion and then add that as well.  Follow with the summer squash, adding to the pan as you slice.
3. Once the broth comes to a boil, add the box of couscous.  Cover, and remove from the heat.  Let it steam for 5 minutes and the fluff with a fork.  Cover to keep warm while the stew is cooking.
4. Pound the chicken breast with a meat mallet to about 1/2 inch thickness.  This step is optional, but I prefer my chicken pounded for one reason or another!  Cut the chicken into 1 inch chunks.
5. Add the chicken and the garlic to the large sauce pan.  Stir.  Turn the heat up to high and cover and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Add the stewed tomatoes, the cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and honey.  Follow with a generous sprinkling of black pepper.  Add the frozen pepper blend and the raisins.  Bring the mixture up to a boil, and stir thoroughly. 
7. Cover the pot and adjust the heat to maintain an active simmer.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
8. Serve the stew over generous helpings of couscous.


  1. I love everything about this meal, especially the raisins! I imagine they go perfectly with the spices. This is not only quick but healthy too. I think everyone loves a quickie now and then. ;o)

  2. This sounds great! I don't have an cumin or turmeric on hand though, do you have any suggestions for substitutes?

  3. I visited North Africa last Spring, and this meal is making me crave all of the delicious food I ate while traveling. Thank you for sharing a great idea for a weekday meal. This looks particularly warming! Have a great night love!

  4. I've never tasted or cooked African food and this sounds really interesting!

  5. I love all those spices! I also love raisins, especially when they are incorporated into savory meals :) This sounds wonderful!


  6. Wow, this looks amazing! I've never had African food before so I definitely want to give this a try!

  7. All the flavors you used a loved ones. Couscous is such a perfect compliment to this dish.

  8. yum, these are some of my favorite flavors! love the sweet & spicy combination.

  9. I just did a stew in the crockpot last night. I wish I had the chickpeas. I think it would have been a nice addition.

  10. yummmmm. this is seriously right up my ally. just another reason why i love your blog. i'm not a raisin hater but my hubby is, so i'd have to throw them on my individual bowl which would be no prob.

  11. I'm going to try this - minus the chicken - tonight!