Lemony chicken stew with giant couscous

Lemony chicken stew with giant couscous

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(20 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 1 hr plus longer cooking if needed


Serves 4

This healthy Moroccan-style one-pot can be slow-cooked and dished up at different times - ideal for busy households

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal415
  • fat9g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs48g
  • sugars18g
  • fibre5g
  • protein33g
  • salt1.6g
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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 onions, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 500g skinless boneless chicken thighs, each cut into 2-3 chunks
  • 3 tbsp tagine paste or 2 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 2 x 400g cans tomato with chopped mixed olives



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • small handful fresh oregano, leaves picked and chopped
  • 2 preserved lemons, flesh removed, skin rinsed and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 200g giant couscous
  • handful parsley, chopped



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…


  1. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish with a lid. Add the onions and cook for 10 mins until starting to caramelise. Push the onions to one side of the dish and add the chicken. Cook over a high heat for 5 mins or so until the chicken is browning.

  2. Add the tagine paste, tomatoes, oregano, preserved lemons and honey, and crumble in the stock cube. Fill one of the tomato cans halfway with water and pour this into the dish. Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Give everything a good stir, then cover with a lid and simmer for 40 mins, on a gentle bubble, or for up to 4 hrs over a very low heat if you’re eating at different times.

  3. Add the couscous 10 mins before you’re ready to serve, cover and simmer for 10 mins or until cooked. If you’re eating at different times, scoop your portion into a pan, add 50g couscous and cook in the same way. Stir in some parsley just before serving.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Taya Elibrachy
14th Mar, 2018
9th Jan, 2018
I cooked this tonight for 5 people. I used 10 thighs which I browned off before without removing the skin. I used a fresh lemon instead of buying preserved lemons. The wax can be removed quite easily by soaking it quickly in fairly hot water then scrubbing it with a brush under cold water. The dish was tasty, quite lemony so I was glad that I only used 1 lemon and not 2. Next time will add much more parsley. I also used ras el hanout instead of tagine paste. Quick and easy to make.
Charlotte Carey's picture
Charlotte Carey
5th Jan, 2018
My family love this. Easy to make in slow cooker and if you cant get preserved lemons, just cut a lemon in half and chuck it in and it will be infused with delicious lemony taste. Add the cous cous at the end otherwise it’ll go mushy.
7th May, 2017
My kids adore this. I use plain tinned tomatoes and add loads of olives as the boys love them. Good hearty healthy food.
12th Mar, 2017
Really lovely! I didn't find it too lemony, but I added a teaspoon of harissa paste so that might be why! I thought there was too much tomato though, and the couscous had to be fished. Next time I'll only use one tin of tomatoes and maybe a bit more water.
4th Feb, 2017
Easy to make but a bit too lemony for us. I only had plain tins of tomatoes, so added olives in separately and they added a nice flavour. If I make this again I think I'll keep the lemons whole for flavour, and remove them before eating.
26th Apr, 2016
Lovely recipe, very easy to make and delicious. I used marks and spencer Moroccan tagine paste and plain tinned tomatoes.
25th Apr, 2016
This is a lovely recipe I've cooked several times. I tend to use whole bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks and do a long slow cook. Works with small pasta like orzo too (instead of the giant couscous). Better the next day.
24th Feb, 2016
This recipe is now a firm favourite in the household. We prefer it with tagine paste as the Ras el hanout and with some wild mushrooms fried with the onions. The base makes a great accompaniment to pan fried seabass and lamb. Don't be scared of the preserved lemons either. Thanks to this recipe introducing them to me I know used them in other recipes and make my own.
13th Feb, 2016
This wasn't a success, despite closely following the recipe. My only thought is that I used dry ras el hanout instead of paste - perhaps that affected it. The tomatoes were totally overpowering, and the lovely fragrant spices just came out really perfumey - combined with the lemon it just made me think of household cleaning products! The chicken was totally lost, could have been any meat. I will look for another recipe with the giant cous cous as a lovely ingredient. Will look for paste instead of dry spices too.


26th Mar, 2018
The picture looks as though the recipe contains olives but this is not included in the ingredients list. Was this an omission?
goodfoodteam's picture
1st Apr, 2018
Thanks for your question. The recipe uses cans of tomato with chopped olives in them.
31st Mar, 2017
Is it ok to use ordinary lemon instead rather than preserved?
goodfoodteam's picture
10th Apr, 2017
Thanks for your question. You need to use preserved lemons in this recipe, fresh lemons will not give a good result. You can buy them at the supermarket or they're simple to make yourself, with this recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1977656/preserved-lemons
26th Oct, 2016
Could I use chick peas instead of couscous ? What is a preserved lemon ? Thanks.
goodfoodteam's picture
1st Nov, 2016
Hi there, thanks for your question. Couscous is a grain and chickpeas are a pulse so you'll get quite different results but as long as you're aware of that, you could omit the couscous and add a can of chickpeas instead if you like. Preserved lemons have been packed in salt and spices, then covered with lemon juice or brine and pickled. You can buy them in supermarkets or try our recipe. They add an intense lemon flavour to North African cuisine.
25th Oct, 2016
Would this recipe cook ok in a slow cooker?
goodfoodteam's picture
1st Nov, 2016
Hi there, yes you can do this in a slow cooker. Take a look at our slow cooker tips for how to adapt the recipe. Remember you'll need to adjust the couscous cooking time too. 
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