Shredded Harissa Chicken and Jewelled Couscous

Shredded Harissa Chicken and Jewelled Couscous

me, Middle Eastern food is exciting, aromatic and beautifully
colourful. The flavours are fresh, zingy and vibrant but still
comforting and warming.

By ‘jewelling’ this couscous salad, a staple in Middle Eastern
cuisine, it adds a lot of colourful herbs, seeds and fruit to your
meal giving you a burst of vitamins and nutrients. Couscous is a
brilliant store cupboard staple. It keeps for ages, cooks in
minutes and is incredibly versatile. By using wholewheat couscous,
you quickly give this salad a health kick. There are many benefits
of using wholewheat products over their refined counterparts. They
have increased fibre, as the grain is intact, and therefore aid in
the digestion process. Wholegrain products also have a lower GI
than refined products. This means, in a nutshell, that the
carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and absorbed at a slower
rate, thus making you feel fuller for longer.

Harissa is a hot, aromatic Middle Eastern paste made from
chillies, roasted peppers and a variety of spices. If you are yet
to try it, I urge you to do so, it is delicious and so


For the chicken:

6 chicken thighs, ideally free-range

2tbsp rose harissa paste (Belazu is the variety I use)

1tbsp olive oil

1tbsp honey

juice of half a lemon

For the salad:

240g wholewheat couscous

1tsp turmeric

a handful of chopped parsley

a handful of chopped mint

50g pistachios

50g pomegranate seeds

1 red onion, finely diced

2 spring onions, finely sliced

3 sun-dried tomatoes, finely sliced

a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

2tbsp olive oil

a sprinkling of dried rose petals (optional)


If you have time, the night before, mix together all of your
ingredients for the chicken, bar the oil, and leave in the fridge
to marinade. If not a couple hours before will be absolutely

Place chicken thighs on a roasting tin, drizzle with the oil and
roast in a hot oven (200ºC) for half an hour.

In the meantime make your salad. Place your couscous, turmeric
and a good pinch of salt into a heatproof bowl. Pour over freshly
boiled water until it is about a centimetre higher than the level
of the couscous. Cover in cling film and leave for 5 to 10 minutes.
This method works every time…no matter the quantity.

Once your couscous has cooked, fluff it up with a fork and allow
to cool a little.

Add all of the other salad ingredients to your couscous and stir
them through with a good pinch of salt and twist of pepper. Your
couscous should have now become beautifully colourful and

Once your chicken thighs are cooked through, remove them from
the oven and shred them with two forks, making sure you mix in all
the honey glaze that may be on the bottom of the pan.

Place your salad on plates and top with your chicken.

Grab a fork, dig in and think of sunnier, Moroccan climes.

Words and recipe by by Nicola