Chilly weather calls for flavorful, slow-cooked chicken legs adorned with buttery olives and bright lemon slices. This recipe borrows flavors from a Moroccan tagine (like harissa paste, which you can find in the international aisle or in a Middle Eastern grocery; we love the New York Shuk brand) and yields a similar, slightly stewy result — perfect to serve over fluffy couscous.
Moroccan Braised Chicken Legs with Couscous & Currants
Time: 75 – 80 minutes
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken legs (thigh and drumstick together)
2 shallots, cut into ½-inch wedges
1 tbsp unsalted butter
6 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup couscous
2 tbsp currants
½ cup white wine
1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed
2 tbsp harissa paste
½ cup castelvatrano olives, smashed and pitted
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Brown the chicken:
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high until melted and hot. Add the chicken. Cook 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a plate.
2. Cook the vegetables:
To the pot of reserved fond, add the shallots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 9 minutes, or until softened and caramelized. Add the garlic; cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the harissa paste; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until coated and combined.
3. Start the braise:
Add the wine; cook, stirring constantly to scrape up any fond, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until combined. Add the stock, browned chicken (skin-side up), olives, and lemon slices. Cover the pot and cook 29 to 31 minutes.
4. Finish the braise:
Remove the lid. Cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly reduced. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and the chicken is cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thigh should register 165ºF).
5. Cook the couscous:
While the chicken cooks, in a medium pot, combine the couscous and 1 cup of chicken stock; season with salt and pepper. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 6 to 8 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the couscous is tender. Fluff the cooked couscous with a fork; season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Finish the couscous & serve your dish:
To the pot of cooked couscous, stir in the currants, almonds, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve the finished couscous with the cooked chicken, vegetables, and sauce. Garnish with the parsley. Enjoy!