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Pearl Couscous with Chicken and Chickpeas

4-6 Servings

1 hour

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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.




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


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Amy S.
October 5, 2023
Full of flavor and satisfying textures!
Delicious as is! May substitute some riced cauliflower for some of the pearl couscous next time to get some more veg in .
Rachel H.
December 22, 2022
Delicious for a cold evening
we made one small change - we had fregola rather than cous cous. It was delicious but required a bit more cooking. It also reheats beautifully.
Patricia E.

Absolutely delicious, and pretty easy. I used all drumsticks, whole wheat Israeli couscous.

Donald N.

This was fantastic and easy. I made this as written using all chicken thighs. Finally another use for that bottle of pomegranate molasses. This recipe is going into the cold weather rotation. I love Milk Street. Thanks for taking me around the world during this hopefully brief moment in history when I fear traveling.

Athena P.

Excellent flavor but too much couscous for us; next time I'll use half a cup to better balance with the chickpeas & will toast couscous with the onions. Also will add a wee bit more water when making the stock as it's very tasty & if I don't use the extra in the maftoul itself, it will surely find a place in something in my kitchen. ;)