Tunisian Chicken Stew Over Couscous with Green Harissa: An Eat More Weigh Less Recipe

By on December 26, 2016

Tunisian Chicken Stew with Couscous and Green Harissa is one of those marvelous Eat More Weigh Less meals you can make and eat it tonight, tomorrow, and when ever you are really hungry for satisfaction, but need to lose some weight.

The secret to recipes like this is their high satisfaction quotient. Yes it takes a while to make it the first time, but hey. It heats well the next day, and will serve you during those hard-working days when all you want to do is sit down and eat with no fuss, no muss.

Tunisian Chicken With Spicy Green Harissa
makes 8 to 10 servings
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or 3 cups canned chickpeas)
1 onion, peeled and stuck with 2 cloves, plus 2 small onions, diced, about 2 cups
1 bay leaf
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
8 to 10 chicken thighs
3 tablespoons Tunisian extra virgin olive oil
1 inch long stick of cinnamon
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound carrots, peeled, in 2-inch batons
1/2 pound small turnips, peeled and cut in wedges
Spicy green sauce with harissa for serving
Cooked and buttered couscous
1. Drain the soaked chickpeas, then cover with 8 cups water in a large pot. Add the onion stuck with cloves and the bay leaf, bring to a boil, then gently simmer for 40 to 60 minutes, until tender. Season with salt, leaving the chickpeas in their broth. Chickpeas may be cooked in advance. (If using canned chickpeas, rinse and add salt to taste.)

2. While chickpeas cook, make the spice mixture and cook the chicken. Begin in a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds until fragrant. Grind to a coarse powder with a mortar or in a spice mill. Stir in the cayenne.

3. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Season generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the spice mixture and rub it into the meat.

4. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in the skillet. Add chicken and brown gently until golden, about 4 minutes a side. Remove chicken to a plate. In the same skillet, add diced onions and a little salt. Let onions soften and color for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, and scraping up any brown bits. Add cinnamon stick and garlic and cook for a minute more.

5. When chickpeas are cooked, set aside until chicken and spices are cooked then add them to the chickpea mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, covered, for about a half hour. Remove chicken pieces. Strip meat from the bones, discarding skin and bones, then replace chicken back to the pot.

6. Add carrots and turnips and cook, covered, for 15 minutes more. Let rest 5 minutes and skim excess fat. Serve with broth, spicy green sauce and buttered couscous.

To make the spicy green sauce with harissa:
Combine 6 garlic cloves, crushed, with 1 cup minced cilantro leaves and stems, a shot of harissa OR red pepper flakes (to taste), and the juice and zest of a lime. Finish with a shot of Tunisian extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Place in a small bowl and pass at the table. If it seems too wild, tame it with a spoonful or two of plain yogurt stirred in at the last minute. Add radish garnish

Cook couscous following package directions. Fluff with a fork. Serve in a bowl making a bed of couscous, with scoops of chicken with sauce. Yum.

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”