Roasted Chicken Paprika over Sweet Onion Moghrabieh

One of my favorite new places to visit for ethnic culinary goodies is Al-Khyam Bakery & Grocery in Chicago. They bake the best pita I have ever had in my entire life! They supply pita to most of the restaurants here in Chicago that charge you a buck a pita – here, I get 6 for a buck. Oh sweet pita loving gods! I wonder if they offer a 12 step pita recovery program…

But I digress… last trip there I found my oldest dearest addictions…… one I had not seen in about 2 years – as it is NOT easy to find. Moghrabieh. Or maybe better known to you as Lebanese cous cous. Or maybe not even known to you at all which kinda makes this THE COOLEST BLOG POST EVER!

The addiction started a long long time ago with simple Moroccan couscous – made from semolina wheat, it is about the size of a pin head. Super easy to prepare and versatile. I then moved on to the beautiful pearl variety – also known as Israeli couscous. This variety is made of hard baked wheat and are about the size of a peppercorn, and it is said is pretty close to orzo… I like to saute it in a little ghee / butter before adding my veggies and broth so it gets a nice golden color and nutty toasted taste. Then one day I happened upon the Lebanese couscous variety. So. Freaking. Good. Also known as Moghrabieh, and are about 1/4 ” in diameter. I like to treat it as if it were little dumplings, or even risotto. This couscous variety takes patience… and if you suffer even SLIGHTLY from shiny object syndrome – is not a dish for you to even attempt. YesIAmLookingAtYouJeff

The typical Chicken Paprikash is browned and then simmered covered in wine and broth till very tender. Then a dollop of sour cream makes it the feel good meal of the century. But sometimes I want that spicy smoky paprika taste on some crispy & juicy chicken. Save the simmering for another cold and blustery day NEXT WINTER!

Chicken paprikash and moghrabieh

What came first? The chicken or the rub?

Combine the following:

3 T smoked paprika
1 T kosher salt
Zest of 1 lemon
2 t garlic powder
1 t cayenne powder
1/2 t pepper

You also need:

1 whole roasting chicken (3-4 #), but you can easily use quarters.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry.

Gently loosen the skin from the chicken. Rub half the seasoning underneath the skin where possible. Rub the rest on the surface of the skin. Take any left over rub and sprinkle inside the cavity.

Place chicken in shallow roasting pan and place in oven.

While the chicken is roasting (which it will for about 45 minutes or until it is 165°) start the Moghrabieh. Which requires the following:

1 T olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 C Moghrabieh
3-4 cups chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon
2 T butter
1/2 cup fresh parsley (I used dried but it was all I had…)
Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.

Heat olive oil in saucepan and saute moghrabieh till slightly golden. Add the onions and garlic and continue to saute till soft.

Add 1/2 of the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Stir often. This is where your risotto skills will come into play so put down your blackberry, ignore the tv, stop playing video games… or guess what – MOGHRABIEH FAIL!

When you notice most of the broth has been absorbed, add about 1/2 c more. As I explained before – they have a bit of a dumpling texture to them… I did mention that right?… anyway… some people like mushy dumplings, some like them a little more firm. So in between adding the rest of the broth, be sure to taste and STOP when you like what you have. This can take up to 30 minutes… SO you there with the severe ADD – pop some fish oil before you attempt!

CHECK THAT CHICKEN! I bet it is done… Let sit for 10 minutes…

Okay… once you have achieved perfect moghrabieh status, stir in the butter, lemon juice, parsley, salt & pepper. Serve sprinkled with crushed red chili flakes, some more parsley and top with a nice big piece of chicken paprika. YUM!

Cooked up by Heather


  1. 13
    April 28

    I so take that back. that couscous looks like pearl onions!! loooove it. I need to find me some!

  2. 12
    April 28

    Girl, I’m loving the amount of onions in this…. stinky breath, but WHO cares!

  3. 11
    April 26

    This Israeli couscous look so delicious to eat with that chicken. Yum!

  4. 10
    April 23

    Great combo of flavors. You’ll have to update soon…you haven’t posted in awhile.

  5. 9
    April 19

    Paprika is becoming one of my favorite spices and I am using it in just about everything now!

    Love Al-Khyam Bakery!

  6. 8
    April 14

    Okay. I never heard of Moghrabieh, so you totally are cool. I have heard of Israeli cous cous though.

    Nice flavors in the chicken too. I can understand not wanting to do the whole braise thing. I’m the type that does stuff like that in July and makes ice cream in winter, so I might still braise, but your roasted chicken with paprika looks way better for the impatient.

  7. 7
    April 10

    The chicken looks perfectly roasted. Love the onions. That’s beautiful combination. Thanks for sharing. Have a lovely weekend.

  8. 6
    April 6

    Heather, what a great meal…looks delicious! Love the picture as well :-)

  9. 5
    April 4

    Yum! The chicken looks perfect. What’s Moghrabieh? I think I have to do some research. lol. :-)

  10. 4
    April 1

    Now I need to find that cous cous!

  11. 3
    April 1

    heck, you can even keep the chicken–that moghrabieh (what an awesome word) looks so swollen and soft and delicious! did i miss the part where you said how much to use?

    • 3.1
      April 1

      No you didn’t miss how much – I missed how much. In all honesty tho – it wouldn’t be a true post by me unless I left out an ingredient. I do it Every. Single. Time.

      The answer is 1.5 cups and the recipe has been changed to reflect such.

      I mean – YEA YOU MISSED IT!


  12. 2
    March 31

    I came across this through Elle’s Kicthen on Twitter. Oh man, this looks SO good!

  13. 1
    March 31

    I can taste the smoked paprika just looking a this! Ultimate comfort food.

    Never heard of Moghrabieh, but I’m going to try our local Lebanese market for it!