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Golden Lemon-Olive Chicken with Pine Nut Couscous

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 medium onions peeled, each cut into 6 wedges, root end intact

4 bay leaves

4 large cloves garlic, crushed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup good quality pitted large green olives

5 tablespoons butter

4 Meyer lemons or organic lemons, 2 sliced, 1 zested and juiced, plus 1 juiced

1 generous pinch saffron threads, 12 to 15 threads

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 quart homemade or store-bought chicken stock

1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric, half a palmful

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, half a palmful

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 1/2 to 2 pounds poached chicken, diced or shredded

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 1/2 cups couscous

1/4 cup finely chopped mint leaves

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bay leaves and garlic and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir for 3 to 4 minutes, then cover the pan and sweat the onions for3 to 4 minutes more. Uncover the pot and stir in the olives.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-high sided skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Slice 2 lemons and gently brown the slices, in 2 batches. As they brown, add them to the pan with the onions. Add 3 more tablespoons butter to the pan and let it melt, then add saffron threads and the zest of l lemon to the melted butter and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour, cook for a minute more, then whisk in 2 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Season the sauce with turmeric, cumin and cinnamon and let thicken for a couple of minutes. Stir in the juice of remaining 2 lemons and reduce the heat to low. Add the chicken and sauce to the onions and gently stir to combine. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal or, cover the pan to warm the chicken through and combine flavors.
  3. When ready to serve, prepare couscous. Put the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium pot or pan with tight-fitting lid and let it melt over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and gently toast them to light golden brown. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Stir in the couscous, turn off heat, cover the pan and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and add the mint and parsley. Spoon the couscous into a serving bowl.
  4. Transfer the chicken mixture to a serving bowl or platter and serve with the couscous.
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