Recipes

Moghrabieh, Lebanese Chicken Couscous Soup

Moghrabieh, Lebanese Chicken Couscous Soup


Moghrabieh is the beloved Lebanese chicken stew, full of aromatic spices and large couscous pearls by that same name, moghrabieh.

Ingredients 

For the chicken soup:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 pounds chicken pieces, bone-in and skin-on (such as thighs and/or breasts)

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon 7 Spice

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground caraway or fennel seeds

2 sticks cinnamon

2 bay leaves

32 oz (4 cups) chicken stock or broth

12 oz frozen or fresh pearl onions

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

For the couscous:

2 cups dry moghrabieh, Lebanese couscous

32 oz (4 cups) chicken broth

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons butter

Instructions 

1. In a large heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down.

2. Cook the chicken until the skin is deep golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and reduce the heat to medium.

3. Deglaze the pot by adding the chopped onion, minced garlic, and a teaspoon of the salt to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Tuck the chicken back into the pot, skin side up.

4. Season the chicken with 2 teaspoons of the salt, pepper, and 7 Spice. Add the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Pour the chicken broth over the chicken along with an additional cup of water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any foam as it cooks.

5. Remove the chicken from the pot. Add the pearl onions and chickpeas. Bring the liquid to boil again, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.

6. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it into bite-size pieces, discarding the skin and bones. Add the shredded chicken back to the pot. Add the lemon juice. Taste and add more salt and spices if needed.

7. Make the couscous. In a medium pot, bring 4 cups of chicken broth with the salt to boil. Add the dry couscous and bring back to boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover the pot while the couscous cooks until it is tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain any excess liquid if there is any. Add the butter to the couscous and stir until it is melted and the pearls are coated.

8. To serve the moghrabieh, spoon some couscous into each bowl, then ladle the chicken soup with pieces of chicken, onion, and chickpeas in each bowl. Dust the top of each bowl with parsley and serve immediately.

Notes

Tips for making Moghrabieh:

Use any bone-in, skin on chicken pieces for the recipe. They will give the broth more flavor.

Try using chicken broth instead of water to make the broth. Broth + broth makes more flavor!

Caraway seeds are traditional for this dish but they are not readily available in U.S. grocery stores. Some Middle Eastern grocery stores will stock caraway. Fennel is a delicious substitute with similar anise flavor.

Frozen pearl onions are very easy to use and beautiful. Fresh pearl onions require a lengthy trimming process. A large onion cut in wedges is also an option.

Moghrabieh is very delicious…but its color is bland. Top each serving bowl with a shower of chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, and a dusting of 7 Spice, to make it look more appealing.

A thicker stew broth is achievable by adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup of cool water to the broth, stirring over medium low heat until thickened.

Nutrition

CALORIES: 562kcal | CARBOHYDRATES: 54g | PROTEIN: 30g | FAT: 25g | SATURATED FAT: 9g | POLYUNSATURATED FAT: 4g | MONOUNSATURATED FAT: 10g | TRANS FAT: 0.3g | CHOLESTEROL: 98mg | SODIUM: 2805mg | POTASSIUM: 490mg | FIBER: 5g | SUGAR: 5g | VITAMIN A: 601IU | VITAMIN C: 10mg | CALCIUM: 79mg | IRON: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

AUTHOR: Maureen Abood

SERVINGS: 6

CALORIES: 562

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