Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Soup


January 25, 2011 by Dana

After the very first bite of this soup, I knew I had to share it with you.  Not doing so would have been doing a disservice to you, to this blog, and to the very spirit of food blogging.  If you are a food blogger, and you make something SO easy and delicious, you must share.

And so that’s what I’m doing today.  Sharing.  Like the good food blogger that I am.

Just know, that this was not an easy process.  I mean, the soup itself? Easy as pie.  Seriously, it’s like the easiest soup ever.  Just cut up a few things throw them in the pot, sauté and boil.  No pureeing.  No extra pots to clean.  No problem.

But the process?  It was…. a process.

You see, I made this soup on a Wednesday night.  And night time is just not a good time for pictures.  So I figured I would take pictures of the leftovers the next day.  But I work during the day.  And by the time I got home on Thursday, it was dark again.  And I was hungry.  So I ate the rest.

Luckily, Jake said this soup was so good that he could eat it every day.  Figure of speech?  Maybe.  But I took him literally.  And made another a double batch on Sunday.

I stopped at the grocery store to pick up ingredients around 3:00.  I knew that this soup was so quick that I would have plenty of time to make it with time to spare to get a good picture before it got dark.

…which would have been true, had I not left one of my grocery bags at the store.  The bag contained a number of groceries… including the tomato puree for this soup.

So back to the store I went.  I ran straight to the information desk asked explained the situation to the woman behind the counter.   I wasn’t sure if she heard me.  But then, after an uncomfortably long period of time of her staring at me as if I just told her I hadn’t showered in a month, she muttered one word.


Right.  The receipt.  That would have been helpful.  If I had remembered to take it.

Thankfully, the kid that rang me up remembered me and came to my rescue.  The woman behind the counter begrudgingly said I could take my groceries home.  Except they had already put everything away, so I had to go back through the store and pick everything up again.

Let me tell you, they don’t call it Super Stop and Shop for nothing.  The store is huge.  And I was running out of daylight.  So I did what any responsible person would do.  I ran.  (Consequentially, I also learned that I never want to be on Supermarket Sweep.)

I got home just in time to see the sun set.

I was getting worried that this was never going to happen, when it finally occurred to me.  I was going to have to take these pictures before work.  I was going to have to wake up…. early.

After the panic of having to actually function before 8:00am subsided, I set my alarm.  For 6:30.

You are all lucky I take my job hobby seriously.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 sweet potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup tomato puree
1 quart water
2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1/2 cup couscous
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

The original recipe, from Food & Wine, called for chicken thighs.  I prefer breasts, so that’s what I used.  It also said to cut the chicken into 1 ½ by ¼ inch strips.  I misread it (both times) and cut mine into ½ by ¼ inch strips (which were basically just the smallest little pieces I could cut the chicken into).  It would probably be good either way, but I did like the tiny little pieces of chicken that almost melted into the broth they were so small.  It’s up to you.


1. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Increase the heat to moderately high. Add the chicken, cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the sweet potato, zucchini, tomato puree, water, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the couscous to the soup. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from the heat. Let the soup stand, covered, for 2 minutes; add the parsley and serve.

This soup was so good that I didn’t mind eating it for 6 of the past 8 weeknights.  Or going to the store multiple times to get the ingredients.  Or waking up at 6:30am to photograph it.  Now that’s saying something.


P.S.  This is my submission to this week’s Couscous BSI.  I am hosting this week, so you should check it out!

28 thoughts on “Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Soup

  1. RavieNomNoms says:

    What a great soup, I keep seeing all these great soups and it is just perfect for all this snowy cold weather we are getting in new england

  2. Reeni says:

    So much work for you! But the soup sounds wonderful and I do appreciate your efforts!

  3. I loved your story!!! I have left a bag at the store too… I can’t believe that the put it away! In any case, you did a great job getting photos for us. With a recommendation like this I have to try it! My husband is a soup lover and will be thrilled to have a new one to try. Thank you for all the work you put into this one!!!

  4. Victoria says:

    Hahaha, you poor thing! That is a rough experience! I always thought Supermarket Sweep would have been fun, but I guess not :) The soup looks good though, glad you were able to get those pictures!

  5. Great story Dana! Love it. The soup looks incredible! I may have to run out and get some of the ingredients and make it this week. I seem to have gotten a bad cold (I blame it on the gym in my community, I’m convinced exercise is trying to kill me) and I need to get rid of it before I start my new job on Monday! Thanks!!

  6. I wish you could really share it with me! One of the best flavor profiles. Gorgeous color.

  7. The soup sounds wonderful. The story of the pictures…too funny but I am so sorry too. Thank you for sacrificing yourself for us!

  8. Saveur says:

    It is amazing what food bloggers do for their readers! Glad you were able to snap a gorgeous photo of such yummy, healthy food. :)

  9. this soup sounds really delicious! thanks for sharing this with us and have a great day.

  10. Posky says:


    I’m making it tomorrow.

  11. I have so been enjoying soup, this looks great! I don’t use couscous too much but this looks great! Thanks!

  12. Sandra says:

    It sounds so delicious, especially on these cold days!

  13. I’ve never actually made couscous at home before, but your recipe might convince me! Looks yummy, and perfect for the cold winter nights!

  14. Joanne says:

    The things we do for good blogging…it is kind of crazy, isn’t it?

    Well, I’m really glad you DID do all this because this soup looks amazing! I adore moroccan flavors and have really been on a soup kick lately. Perfect timing.

  15. Mary says:

    Well, your final picture made the whole ordeal worth while. The soup looks super good and will soon be moving from your kitchen to mine. I’ve really enjoy visiting here. I love the food and recipes you feature. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  16. Kristen says:

    That soup sounds so good. My kids love couscous,but I haven’t ever put it in a soup. Bookmarking!!

  17. Wow, this must be a good soup! The sweet potato chunks look great in it, and I love these flavors together.

  18. Faith says:

    What an ordeal! I’m glad you made the soup again and took the pics…it looks pretty fantastic!

  19. KeepItSweet says:

    I’m glad you found a way to post this soup because it looks delicious!

  20. Monet says:

    I hate it when I leave my bags of groceries at the store (this happens to me a lot, which is kind of embarrassing) But I’m so glad you got your tomato sauce and made another batch of this soup. It looks and sounds INCREDIBLE. Thank you so much for sharing with me tonight…and thanks for all the sweetness you leave on my blog…it means so much to me!

  21. Oh, that’s frustrating! I’ve done that too and also drove to the market without my wallet, ugh. Your soup looks absolutely delicious! I’ve never thought of using couscous in soup, good idea. And my family doesn’t like zucchini grilled, broiled or baked so I always need recipes to use zucchini otherwise my family won’t eat it. Thanks!

  22. biz319 says:

    Great entry! Sorry about the shopping trip, but glad it worked out!

    Sadly, its still dark when I wake up – cannot wait for spring and summer for longer daylight hours!!

  23. Karen says:

    I have assigned my oldest son to be our “bag checker” at the grocery store because I had left one bag too. many. times!
    Hope you’ll come back and link up at Burnt Toast Thursday again today. I’m really enjoying your recipes and stories.

  24. Your soup sounds so delicious. It’s so cold here so I can’t get enough soup. Thanks for taking your hobby job so serious:)

  25. I also prefer chicken breasts to thighs. I love the new layout! Beautiful!

  26. This soup sounds wonderful, especially with the cous cous!

  27. […] And, of course, my Moroccan Chicken and Couscous Soup […]

  28. Amanda says:

    The first time I was given this recipe was in high school. I’m now 28. I’ve moved several times and I lost my original recipe. I KNOW mine was different, bc it called for tumeric and allspice. It also has celery and carrots, where yours has other things, but yours is definately the closest to mine I have found so i will have to try it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: