Chicken Soup North African Style


This hearty soup is flavored with fresh herbs, cumin, and ginger.


  • 3 medium carrots, peeled

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, split, bone in, skin removed

  • 1 leek, quartered lengthwise, washed

  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch lengths

  • 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 sprigs thyme

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 whole canned tomatoes, drained, seeded, and quartered

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 cup diced butternut squash

  • 1 cup quick-cooking couscous

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

  • cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus sprigs for garnish

  • 2 small zucchini, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice

  • ½ cup cooked or canned chickpeas

  • 2 limes, cut into wedges


  1. Cut one carrot in half; place in a medium stockpot. Add chicken, 2 quarts water, leeks, celery, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for about 1 hour; skim off any scum. Remove chicken. Pass stock through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Remove chicken meat from bones and slice into 1/2-inch-thick strips.

  2. Rinse stockpot; return stock to it. Set over medium-low heat; add ground pepper. Dice remaining 2 carrots. Add carrots, tomatoes, cumin, ginger, and squash to stock; simmer over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Stir in jalapeeno cilantro.

  4. Add zucchini and chickpeas to soup; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add chicken meat; simmer to heat through, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning.

  5. To serve, place a spoonful of couscous in a soup bowl; spoon soup around it and add a cilantro sprig and lime wedge.

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