Main courses, Sephardi

Chicken Stew with Zucchini and Couscous

chicken with tomatoes and chickpeas

This recipe, I will warn you, is not for the faint-hearted. It is labor-intensive, with many ingredients, and many steps (tip: it helps to set up a mise en place). But such flavorsome results! Not to mention, it’s an all-in-one meal: protein, vegetable, and starch. Everyone loves this dish, which makes it well worth the effort!

Chicken Stew with Zucchini and Couscous

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 4 kg chicken pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • an 800-gr. can tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
  • a 425-gr. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander or parsley
  • 11/4 cups couscous
  • Harissa, for serving


  1. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large stewing pan. Add chicken in batches and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.
  2. Add onion to pan and cook over low heat until soft but not brown. Add garlic and cook about 1/2 minute. Stir in paprika, cumin and tomatoes and cook for two minutes, stirring often.
  3. Return chicken to pan and add pepper flakes and 3/4 cup of the broth. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Add zucchini and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken and zucchini are tender.
  5. Stir in chickpeas, tomato paste and one tablespoon cilantro and heat briefly.
  6. For quick couscous, stir remaining 4 tablespoons oil into couscous. Combine remaining 11/4 cups broth with 1/4 cup sauce from the chicken in a heavy small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add couscous, stir and cover. Turn off heat and let stand for five minutes.
  7. Fluff couscous gently with a fork. Taste and adjust seasoning. Spoon couscous onto a deep platter. Arrange chicken pieces around it, moisten them with a little sauce and sprinkle them with chopped cilantro. Serve remaining sauce, zucchini, and chickpeas in a separately serving dish, and have harissa on hand for diners to add as much or as little as they like.