This common North African dish is also served in southern Spain and Italy. Often it's made as a stew because the region's farm-raised chickens require long cooking to become tender. This version is quicker because chickens in American supermarkets are more tender. Lightly blanching the olives brings out the true flavor of the fruit by removing the briny overtones.
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned
3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Dash of ground red pepper
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup pitted green olives
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups hot cooked couscous
How to Make It
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to pan; cook 10 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken from pan; reduce heat to medium.
Add 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, onion, and the next 8 ingredients (onion through bay leaf); cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth; bring to a boil. Return chicken to pan, and reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Discard cinnamon and bay leaf.
While chicken cooks, place olives in a small saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; drain. Repeat procedure. Add olives and juice to chicken mixture; sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over couscous.