Chicken Tagine with Pine-Nut Couscous

Suggested Use:
De Arbol is a hot chile and a staple in Southwest kitchens. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish. Be adventurous and add them to your next stew or chili along with the other spices. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish.

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2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 bone-in chicken thighs (with skin)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 small dried red chiles, such as arbol
1 teaspoon salt
15 dried apricots, halved
15 pitted prunes, halved
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs plus 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1-1/2 cups couscous
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1 tsp. grated fresh lemon zest


Heat the oil in a 6-8 quart heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook 3 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken, then set aside.

Drain all but 2 Tbsp. of oil from the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and saute until golden, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, black pepper, cardamom pods, chiles and salt and stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pot and add the apricots, prunes, 2 cups of chicken broth and the parsley sprigs. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and remove the parsley sprigs and chiles. Remove the skin from the chicken.

In a covered medium saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover and let it stand for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and fluff the couscous with a fork. Stir in 2 Tbsp. of minced parsley, pine nuts and lemon zest, then toss to combine. Mound the couscous on a platter and top with the chicken thighs and pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. of parsley.

Yields 4-6 servings.

Recipe from Sunset Magazine, March 2007.