Saucy Moroccan Chicken and Lemon with Date Couscous

Braise chicken thighs with cinnamon, coriander and seared lemon slices, and serve them over a bed of couscous with dates.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4
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1 lemon, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds (ends and seeds discarded)

2 teaspoons sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups couscous

1/4 cup chopped pitted dates or golden raisins

1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

8 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained


  1. Sprinkle both sides of the lemon slices with the sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Arrange on a plate and let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt and add the couscous and dates. Cover, remove from the heat, and set aside until tender, about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in half of the cilantro. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Combine the cinnamon, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sprinkle over the chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, flipping once, until the chicken is golden brown on both sides (but not cooked all the way through), about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet.
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and return to medium heat. Add the lemon slices in a single layer and cook until golden brown and caramelized on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate with the chicken.
  5. Add the tomato paste to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the paste is a shade darker, about 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups water, the chickpeas, chicken, and lemon slices and simmer, flipping the chicken occasionally, until the chicken is just cooked through, about 12 minutes. Stir in the remaining cilantro and serve on top of the couscous.