“This recipe for Moroccan chicken is a combination of ideas from various Middle Eastern cookbooks including ‘Sephardic Cooking’  by Copeland Marks, ‘Sababa’  by Adeena Sussman and suggestions from Allrecipes.com. During these long dark winter nights, I had cravings for rich, savory foods with depth of flavors and richness of taste. It is a one-pot dish with everything needed for a satisfying meal. The addition of a small green salad puts the icing on the cake. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs give the best result, but certainly skinless boneless will be just as comforting. It is a very forgiving recipe and quantities can be increased or decreased. I use prepared shawarma seasoning which I received as a gift, but have included an easy recipe for it. — ELAINE KAHANER, Cape Elizabeth, Maine


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Mainers, what are you cooking this winter while you hunker down at home to wait out this virus? Your mom’s chicken soup for comfort and consolation? Have you joined the sourdough brigade? Or has pandemic fatigue set in so you’re making the fastest, simplest meal you can devise?

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Moroccan Chicken with Israeli Couscous

Kahaner says you can use bagged fresh carrot coins — she does — if you don’t want to slice the carrots yourself.

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 chicken thighs, preferably bone-in, skin on
1 large onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, sliced
1 tablespoon shawarma seasonings (see recipe )
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ cups chicken broth
1½ cups Israeli couscous
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
Pitted green olives

In large deep-sided pan (like a chicken fryer), heat the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the chicken thighs and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrots until tender. Stir in the shawarma seasonings and fry for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and chicken broth. Return the reserved chicken thighs to the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the couscous. Top with the chickpeas and olives.

Cover and simmer until the couscous is cooked through and the chickpeas have warmed.

Shawarma seasoning

2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon allspice
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes

Mix all the spices together.


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