Moroccan Chicken with Jeweled Couscous

5 from 8 votes
1 hour 15 minutes
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Moroccan Chicken with Jeweled Couscous is like a quick culinary escape to Morrocco!  The couscous comes together quickly while the chicken bakes.  The two together make a stunning presentation!

Photo of Chicken Marrakesh with Jeweled Couscous garnished with a lemon slice and almond slices.

If Moroccan Chicken with Jeweled Couscous sounds familiar, it’s a recipe of mine that was accepted by The Fresh Market for publication in their 25th-Anniversary cookbook.

You may already have most of the ingredients in your spice cabinet or pantry.  The steps are not complicated so don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients.

To make Moroccan Chicken with Jeweled Couscous, we first need to make compound butter.

What is compound butter:

  • Compound butter has French beginnings and can be made with almost any herb, spice or flavoring.  Because there’s a heavy French influence in Moroccan cuisine, Chicken Marrakesh with Jeweled Couscous starts with a compound butter that’s flavored with lovely Moroccan-inspired spices and fresh herbs.

How to make compound butter:

  • Start with softened unsalted butter.
  • Add the desired ingredients.
  • Form into a log using plastic wrap, then wrap and chill until it can be sliced.
  • The recipe here yields more than you’ll need for two servings.  However, this recipe is easily doubled to four servings.  If only making two servings, freeze the remainder of the butter and use it another time or melt it with cooked carrots, squash, sweet potatoes or salmon.

The butter does run out from under the skin, leaving behind all the spices to flavor the chicken.  However, the butter melds with olive oil and the chicken drippings to create a luxurious “sauce” to be drizzled back over the chicken.  The Jeweled Couscous pairs beautifully with the chicken!

What is couscous?

Couscous is often mistaken for a grain, but it is actually dried pasta made from semolina, a coarsely ground durum wheat.  Israeli or pearl couscous is larger and is baked rather than dried.  It takes longer to cook, but can be used if you prefer.  For a gluten-free dish, use brown rice or quinoa.

North African-style couscous is a great item to keep in your pantry for side dishes because it cooks quickly.

The chicken breast roasting time will vary depending upon size.  The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the breast registers 165 degrees.  Be careful not to touch bone as the thermometer will register hotter than what the meat temperature really is.

Serve a green Moroccan-inspired salad with orange segments, red onion, radishes and black olives on the side with this stunning Chicken Marrakesh with Jeweled Couscous.

More winner chicken dinners!

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Moroccan Chicken with Jeweled Couscous

5 from 8 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef's Kitchen
Moroccan Chicken with Jeweled Couscous is like a quick culinary escape to Morrocco!  The couscous comes together quickly while the chicken bakes.  The two together make a stunning presentation!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 2
Calories 1489 kcal



  • 1 stick unsalted butter - softened
  • 4 scallions - white and light green part, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper - or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt - divided
  • 2 chicken breasts - bone-in, skin-on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Lemon wedges - for serving


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot - chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper - chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 scallions - chopped
  • 1 small zucchini - diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper - or to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley



  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, combine butter, scallion, garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, parsley, cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Form into a log, wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Cut the log in half and store one half for another use. Cut the other half in half again.
  • Gently separate--but do not remove--the skin from the chicken. Stuff a round of butter under the skin of each breast and press down to slightly distribute it.
  • Place in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with the remaining salt.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking another 30 to 40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center of each breast registers 165 degrees. Baste chicken with the pan juices twice during roasting.


  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the carrot and red bell pepper and cook 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the scallion and zucchini and cook another 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and saute briefly.
  • Add chicken broth, salt and pepper and raisins.
  • Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in couscous, cover and let stand 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork, cover and keep warm. Just before serving, add almonds and parsley.
  • To serve, spread couscous on a platter, top with chicken and drizzle with pan juices. Serve with lemon wedges.


MAKE AHEAD:  The compound butter can be made 1-2 days ahead or made and frozen.  The butter can be placed under the skin of the chicken 1 day ahead and refrigerated.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 1489kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 68g | Fat: 97g | Saturated Fat: 36g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 44g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 266mg | Sodium: 2132mg | Potassium: 2117mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 10410IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 266mg | Iron: 8mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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5 from 8 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This looks so amazing. Love the layers of flavor and texture. And couscous is the most marvelous grain. Love it!