One-Pot Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Couscous
The story of this recipe is pretty simple. I had a desire to create a one-pot meal, a husband who wanted chicken for dinner, a friend who was willing to taste test, and a jar of preserved lemons sitting in my kitchen.
All of those things created the perfect storm that resulted in this amazing one-pot chicken dish.
My friend literally sat at my kitchen table and watched me develop this recipe, from start to finish. She was over for dinner and expected dinner, so no pressure at all! We were both lucky then that this recipe turned out so well. She devoured the food with the highest praise, and the rest of my family loved it too. I quickly made it again to ensure it was right, and now I’m publishing it here so you can enjoy it too.
Let me just put it out there that if you don’t have or can’t find preserved lemons, you can make this dish with normal lemon. Just cut all the pith (the white part) and pulp out before you use it, and you might want to add a bit more salt to the recipe. Preserved lemons are more intense and less sour than regular lemons, and they’re also salty because they are preserved in salt! I highly recommend you just make them so you have them around.
Preserved lemons are so easy to make – just use a sterilized mason jar, pour ½ cup of salt into it, then squish as many quartered lemons into the jar as you possibly can. Top with lemon juice if you need to (my lemons ended up filling the jar up with juice so I didn’t need to add any more), put the lid on as tight as you can, and leave the jar on your counter for at least a month. Then the lemons are ready to eat, and they’ll last pretty much forever.
If you don’t have a month to wait because you want to make this chicken dish now, you can buy preserved lemons. I know Trader Joe’s carries them if you’re lucky enough to live near one. In Canada, you might want to try Whole Foods or a Middle Eastern grocery store.
One dish meals like this one are so convenient because they dirty very few pots, and they tend to be pretty simple. This is something that can be made at the beginning of the week and eaten for lunches and suppers moving forward. Love.
Just a note – I made this recipe with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs and then bone-in skinless chicken breasts. By far the finished product was better with the chicken thighs. The chicken breast recipe was good, but the meat was a lot drier. I highly recommend, therefore, that you use skin-on chicken thighs.
I also made this recipe with fresh savory, and then with fresh oregano. You can use either, they’re both amazing.
This recipe was awkward to write up when I tell you to put the Dutch oven into the oven. Um. You know what I mean when I say that, right?
8 small chicken thighs, ~3.5 lb
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup flour
2T olive oil
2T fresh savory OR 3T fresh oregano
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
1/2 preserved lemon, yellow rind only, rinsed and chopped small
2 cups dry couscous
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Put the flour, salt, and pepper onto a plate.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven.
On the stovetop on medium-high heat, sauté the onion in the oil until the onion is translucent, then add the crushed garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan and set aside.
Keep the Dutch oven on the burner and do not turn the burner off.
Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour mixture and lay skin side up in the hot Dutch oven. Keeping the heat on medium-high, brown the chicken thighs well on both sides.
Once the chicken thighs are browned, add back the onions and garlic, plus the 2 cups of chicken broth, the lemon, and the savory.
Place the cover on the Dutch oven. Put the Dutch oven into the oven and cook at 400F for 25 minutes OR 30 mins.
After 25 minutes, remove the Dutch oven from the oven and immediately stir the couscous into the remaining broth with the chicken. Replace the lid and let sit on the stovetop, off the heat, for 10 minutes.
** IF the couscous doesn’t have enough liquid to absorb, it will be a bit hard. In this case, simple put another 1/2 cup or so of chicken broth into the dutch oven and bring to a boil on the stovetop, then remove from heat and let sit for 10 mins to let the couscous cook.
** Optional – add a handful of rinsed cured olives into the dish when you’re adding the lemons.