Pearl Couscous with Chicken and Chickpeas | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

Join! 12 weeks for $1

Yes, she baked for the Queen of England.

In this episode, we take a look at Spanish classics. Watch now.

Take a cooking class with us and our instructors from around the world.

NEW - 125 simple weeknight recipes from the world's healthiest cuisine.

850+ hard-to-find items from around the world.

Everything Milk Street. 12 weeks for just $1. Start your trial here.

.
Milk Street Recipe
Milk Street Bowtie Pearl Couscous with Chicken and Chickpeas

Pearl Couscous with Chicken and Chickpeas

1 hour

Pearl Couscous with Chicken and Chickpeas

Free

This is our version of the fragrantly spiced, stew-like maftoul with chicken and chickpeas that we tasted in Galilee. Maftoul, sometimes referred to as Palestinian couscous, resembles pearl couscous in shape and size but is made with bulgur. It is difficult to source in the U.S., but pearl couscous is a good substitute. For this dish, we first simmer bone-in chicken parts in water with aromatics, then remove and chop the meat, reserving it to add at the end. The flavorful broth that results from poaching the chicken is used to cook the couscous, so that rich, full flavor permeates the dish. Cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg add earthy, warm, spicy notes, and a spoonful pomegranate molasses brightens with its fruity tang.

4-6

Servings

Tip

Don't use boneless, skinless chicken parts. Bones and skin give flavor and body to the poaching liquid, and since the liquid is used to cook the couscous, the added richness is good. And don't worry if browned bits form on the bottom of the pot as you cook the garlic and onion. These bits build flavor.

1 hour

2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, leg quarters or thighs
2 large or 3 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup pearl couscous
1 15½-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, plus more to serve
1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Ingredients
  • 2

    pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, leg quarters or thighs

  • 2

    large or 3 medium yellow onions, chopped

  • 2

    bay leaves

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1

    tablespoon ground cumin

  • ½

    teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½

    teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • 1

    cup pearl couscous

  • 1

    15½-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • 1

    teaspoon pomegranate molasses, plus more to serve

  • 1

    cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Directions
  1. 01
    In a large saucepan, combine 5 cups water, the chicken, 1 cup of the chopped onions, the bay and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook at a bare simmer until the thickest part of the chicken reaches 160°F for breasts or 175°F for legs/thighs, 20 to 30 minutes; flip the pieces once about halfway through.
  2. 02
    Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large plate and let cool. Strain enough of the cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer to yield 4 cups; discard the remainder or reserve for another use. Remove the meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones; chop the meat into bite-size pieces.
  3. 03
    In the same pan over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the remaining onions and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the 4 cups chicken-cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, then cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. 04
    Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the chopped chicken, chickpeas, pomegranate molasses and half the parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with additional pomegranate molasses and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
Tip: Don't use boneless, skinless chicken parts. Bones and skin give flavor and body to the poaching liquid, and since the liquid is used to cook the couscous, the added richness is good. And don't worry if browned bits form on the bottom of the pot as you cook the garlic and onion. These bits build flavor.
.
More

Mains

Down arrow

Pearl Couscous with Chicken and Chickpeas

Get Ready to Cook

4-6

Servings

1 hour

Tip

Don't use boneless, skinless chicken parts. Bones and skin give flavor and body to the poaching liquid, and since the liquid is used to cook the couscous, the added richness is good. And don't worry if browned bits form on the bottom of the pot as you cook the garlic and onion. These bits build flavor.

Ingredients
  • 2

    pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, leg quarters or thighs

  • 2

    large or 3 medium yellow onions, chopped

  • 2

    bay leaves

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1

    tablespoon ground cumin

  • ½

    teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½

    teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • 1

    cup pearl couscous

  • 1

    15½-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • 1

    teaspoon pomegranate molasses, plus more to serve

  • 1

    cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Step 1 of 4

Cover and cook the chicken

2
pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, leg quarters or thighs
1
cup medium yellow onions, chopped
2
bay leaves
1
tablespoon kosher salt

In a large saucepan, combine 5 cups water, the chicken, 1 cup of the chopped onions, the bay and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook at a bare simmer until the thickest part of the chicken reaches 160°F for breasts or 175°F for legs/thighs, 20 to 30 minutes; flip the pieces once about halfway through.

Step 2 of 4

Transfer the chicken

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large plate and let cool. Strain enough of the cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer to yield 4 cups; discard the remainder or reserve for another use. Remove the meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones; chop the meat into bite-size pieces.

Step 3 of 4

Cook the couscous

2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1
large or 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4
medium garlic cloves, chopped
1
tablespoon ground cumin
½
teaspoon ground cinnamon
½
teaspoon grated nutmeg
1
teaspoon kosher salt
1
teaspoon ground black pepper
1
cup pearl couscous

In the same pan over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the remaining onions and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the 4 cups chicken-cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, then cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.

Step 4 of 4

Finish and serve

1
15½-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1
teaspoon pomegranate molasses, plus more to serve
1
cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the chopped chicken, chickpeas, pomegranate molasses and half the parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with additional pomegranate molasses and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Milk Street Bowtie Logo

Done!

Did you enjoy this recipe?

Want more?

See More Mains
AUGUST 2021
REGAL WARE 3 PIECE SET (10 INCH PAN, 8 STAINLESS STEEL SKILLET, 3 QUART SAUCE PAN)

$575 VALUE

Success!

Thank you for participating in our monthly giveaway!

Entry Form
How we use your email.

Your email address is required to identify your giveaway entry as well as communications from Milk Street. We will not share or rent your email address. You can unsubscribe from receiving our emails at any time.

Enter the Milk Street Giveaway
Enter the Milk Street Giveaway