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One-Pan Chicken and Couscous Yassa

My NO-RECIPE RECIPE for a deliciously untraditional one-pan chicken yassa with couscous. 

No measurements and no cook times – we are doing this like the African aunties – watch and make it your own!

Yassa is one of the most popular dishes in Senegal, typically made with chicken or fish. I first learned how to make yassa poulet in college from my classmate, and she served it with Moroccan couscous on the side. I was always blown away by how SIMPLE yet flavorful this dish is 🇸🇳


Chicken thighs

Salt and black pepper

Garlic, sliced

Habanero or scotch bonnet, minced

Dijon mustard

Fresh lemon juice

Onion, sliced

Neutral cooking oil

Pearl couscous

Chicken stock

Green olives

Bay leaf

  1. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs in a medium mixing bowl. 

  2. Add the Habanero or scotch bonnet, garlic, dijon mustard, and lemon juice, and mix everything together.

  3. Add the sliced onion to the bowl and mix again until everything is well coated in the sauce. Cover the bowl and allow the yassa mixture to marinate for a few hours in the fridge, or ideally overnight. 

  4. Heat a medium pan on medium heat, and while it heats, separate the chicken thighs from the onions in the yassa mixture. Add a splash of oil to the pan, then add the yassa chicken skin-side down. Cook until the skin is golden brown, then remove the chicken from the pan – it doesn’t need to be fully cooked. 

  5. Add the onions to the pan and allow them to sweat for a few minutes. Once they are soft and translucent, add the couscous, stock, chicken thighs, olives, and bay leaf into the pan. 

  6. Cover with a lid and let the mixture simmer on medium-low heat for about 14 minutes, or until the couscous is tender and the chicken is cooked.

  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

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