Slow Cooker Algerian Chicken Stew: Chicken Couscous #French Fridays with Dorie

I’ve never know anyone to have the same birthday as me except for the Algerian born French writer Albert Camus. His book “The Stranger” haunted me in high school.

When I was just out of high school my father had a massive heart attack and died. As I waited for the ambulance to come… the opening line of “The Stranger” came into my head. “Mother [father] died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.” The meaning of this line struck me. I never understood how unstuck in time you become when a loved one dies. 

Because of my love for Camus I have always been mildly curious about Algeria and France’s relationship with this country… it has been complex to say the least.

I had never looked at Algeria’s cuisine and when I read the original recipe: Chicken Couscous I thought that it’s inspiration might be Algerian. When I looked up Algerian chicken stews it seems that my suspicious were pretty accurate. 

I decide to simplify this recipe by reducing the seasoning to just Harissa I bought a dried version of this spice mix. I used boneless, skinless chicken because to me if you aren’t crisping the skin why bother with it at all. I kept the vegetables the same except I did not put in a leek. It just seemed too French. I served the stew over quinoa because I have a wheat allergy and can’t have couscous.

The stew was a big hit, everyone loved the Harissa flavoring. The chickpeas and raisins were an interesting touch that the whole family found rather exotic. It is amazing how you can use a different spice mix, and put together ingredients that you don’t usually combine…and suddenly you are in a strange land, enjoying an entirely new cuisine. 

Slow Cooker Algerian Chicken Stew: Chicken Couscous
by Diane Balch at Inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Chicken Couscous from Around my French Table
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 to 6 hours
Keywords: slow-cooker soup/stew entree gluten-free chicken African
Ingredients (4 to 6)
  • 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 3 celery stalks chopped
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 2 small turnips chopped
  • 1 large zucchini chopped
  • 15 ounce can of chickpeas with liquid
  • 1/4 cup of golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon of dried Harissa
  • 3/4 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup of melted unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
1) Whisk together: harissa, salt, pepper, butter. Then whisk in chicken broth. Set aside.
2) Layer in a large crockpot: onions, turnips, celery, carrots, raisins.
3) Sprinkle a little salt on the chicken put that on top of the vegetables.
4) On top of the chicken put the chickpeas and then the zucchini. Sprinkle a little salt on the zucchini.
5) Pour the spiced chicken broth over everything in the pot.
6) Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.
Serve over couscous, quinoa, or mashed potatoes