Couscous is the traditional family meal on Fridays in Morocco, and best when made by a Moroccan mom. When I was living there, my roommates and I would wait all week for Couscous Friday, so naturally when I returned to the States, I had major withdrawals from it. The traditional preparation is very time consuming and requires special equipment, so I adapted the recipe that I learned in the village to be made at home. I think Norah would be proud!


Recipe Summary

15 mins
1 hr 45 mins
10 mins
2 hrs 10 mins
8 servings


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Spice Mix:


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  • Mix turmeric, salt, cumin, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves together in a small bowl. Place chicken in a Dutch oven. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the spice mix onto the chicken and drizzle with olive oil.

  • Cover chicken and bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 50 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, reads 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 20 minutes. Let rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

  • Combine broth, butter, and remaining spice mix in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and add carrots. Reduce heat and simmer until starting to soften, about 10 minutes. Add cabbage and zucchini. Add the chicken drippings from the Dutch oven. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

  • Bring water to a boil in a saucepan; remove from heat and stir in couscous. Cover saucepan and let stand until water is absorbed completely, about 10 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a large, shallow bowl. Place chicken the middle and arrange vegetables around the chicken. Pour 4 to 5 ladles of the broth over the whole dish.

Cook's Notes:

Chicken can be slow-cooked if desired.

Make sure to reserve the remaining liquid for reheating leftovers.

Couscous is usually made with meat but can easily be prepared vegetarian. If you are making a vegetarian version or just want to add a little something extra, add a can of drained chickpeas to the broth and mix into the couscous.

Nutrition Facts

381 calories; protein 27.2g; carbohydrates 28.2g; fat 17.6g; cholesterol 101.2mg; sodium 1301.2mg. Full Nutrition