North African Chicken Skewers with Couscous

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

These aromatic chicken skewers are coated in antioxidant-rich spices. Whole-wheat couscous is a healthy carbohydrate source, which the body digests slowly over time, keeping you fuller for longer.


For the chicken skewers:

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 lb. (1.5 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into
      1 1/2-inch (4-cm) cubes
  • 32 extra-large green olives, pitted
  • 2 whole preserved lemons, cut into eighths

For the herbed couscous:

  • 2 cups (12 oz./375 g) whole-wheat couscous
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) boiling water
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as
      parsley, cilantro and mint
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


To make the chicken skewers, in a shallow glass bowl, stir together the cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, saffron, garlic, cilantro and olive oil until well mixed. Add the chicken, olives and lemon wedges and toss to coat with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.

Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Preheat a broiler.

Thread the chicken, olives and lemon wedges onto the skewers, dividing them evenly; do not crowd the pieces too tightly. Discard the marinade. Place the skewers on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the skewers over and broil until the chicken is golden and opaque throughout, about 5 minutes more.

Meanwhile, make the couscous: Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Add the boiling water, cover and let stand until absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork, then stir in the olive oil and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the couscous among warmed individual plates. Divide the skewers among the plates and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Healthy Dish of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014).

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