north african-style chicken

I have a peculiar issue with my food preferences.  I generally dislike fruit in with my savoy dishes.  Spinach and strawberry salads have become quite popular, as well as Caribbean salads with mandarin oranges, and I always wonder why you would want to spoil your fruit with salad dressing, and vice versa.  Then, I tried a Chinese chicken salad with avocado and mango.  I don’t consider myself a convert by any means, but I’ve learned there are some circumstances when fruit with savory foods can be quite delicious.

Part of the reason I have typically shied away from the better-known African and Middle Eastern dishes is because it is common to see dried fruits, particularly raisins (or sultanas), and apricots, in the dishes.  Still unconvinced about the merits of fruit in a savory, spiced dish, I added carrots and sweet potatoes for a milder sweet flavor.

North African-Style Chicken (2 servings)


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch saffron
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1/2 c. Israeli couscous
  • 1 1/4 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. frozen (or 8 oz. fresh) spinach


  1. Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, and cook until fragrant.  Add remaining vegetables and saute about 5 minutes, or until sweet potatoes have begun to soften.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the spices.  Add the chicken and toss until thoroughly coated by the spices.  Add to the saute pan and cook, stirring often, until it is browned on all sides.
  3. Add the chicken broth with the spinach and bring to a boil.  Add couscous and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until couscous is cooked and liquid has been absorbed.

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