Berbere Chicken and Vegetables over Coriander Couscous

If you read my posts before you know this household is a fan of spicy foods.  We love great flavors and nothing helps the flavor to come through more than a bit of heat….. but we don’t go to the extreme.

At my local co-op they sell spices in bulk.  I came across one called Berbere. The list of ingredients included chilies along with spices like fenugreek, allspice, cardamom, black peppercorns, ginger and others.  I opened the jar and a complex aroma filled my nostrils.  It seemed familiar, but I didn’t know why.  I decided to buy some and see what I could do with it.


When I got home, I looked it up and its an Ethiopian blend of spices.  Berbere can vary from region to region, household to household.  I should be looked at like a curry…..many variations and many levels of heat.

Once I saw that it was Ethiopian I knew why I remembered the aroma.  My husband and I had eaten at a wonderful Ethiopian restaurant for our anniversary a few years ago.  We ate a communal meal and this spice was the predominant flavor of the combined dishes.  It was one of the best meals I ever had.  The diner is gone now, but I am happy that I found the spice that made the meal so memorable.

My meal isn’t as nearly elaborate, but has some of the same things: chicken, green beans, onions and carrots.  (I wish I could have made the little pancakes we wrapped it in.)

This meal is quick and easy…thanks to the Berbere spice.   You can make it with regular bone in, skin on chicken or as I did, with boneless, skinless.  Thighs work well with dish.  Breasts not so much.

NOTE: If using skin on, you can brown them first before adding the onion.  Since mine are skinless, I started with the onions and let the chicken cook on top of them.

This entire meal is made in one pan and takes just a little over 30 minutes.  The couscous is even faster.  Adding coriander chutney and lime juice to the couscous lets it compliment the Berbere flavors and not to be overwhelmed by it.

For  5-6 servings

You’ll need:

olive oil, as needed

1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced

7 medium chicken thighs (I used boneless, skinless here-see note above)

1/4 cup Berbere spice

1 cup of carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

4 cloves of garlic, pressed

14 oz fresh green beans (french style works great), trimmed and halved

scant cup water

salt as desired

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add olive oil and then onion.  Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until onion begins to soften.

Spread Berbere spice on a flat plate.  Coat the chicken evenly with the spice and place pieces on top of the cooking onions.  Allow to cook for 7-8 minutes without moving them.  Flip the chicken pieces over, add the carrots and garlic, then cook for another 5 minutes or so.  Add the green beans and water.  Cover dish, reduce heat slightly and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove lid and allow liquid to reduce until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender….another 5-10 minutes.


While the chicken and vegetables are simmering….

Couscous-prepared per package instructions.  Replace 1/4 cup of water with same amount of lime juice.

Add 1-2 Tbs Coriander Chutney (check at your nearest Mediterranean grocery for this) to the liquid before the couscous

1 Tbs unsalted butter –add after couscous is done.  Stir until melted and fluff.

Spread the couscous on individual serving plates.  Add chicken and vegetables on the couscous.  Spoon pan sauce over the chicken.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!


3 thoughts on “Berbere Chicken and Vegetables over Coriander Couscous

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