One-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Pearl Couscous and Eggplant

published Oct 11, 2021
One-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Pearl Couscous and Eggplant Recipe

This one-skillet dish features crispy chicken thighs, pearl couscous, and eggplant simmered in a flavorful tomato base. A complete dinner with minimal dishes to wash? Yes, please!

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook45 minutes to 50 minutes

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One skillet chicken in pot
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

As much as I love cooking, I could do without the cleanup process — and lately I feel like I’ve been washing dishes nonstop. That’s why I’m particularly enamored of this hearty one-skillet recipe, which gives you all the components of a complete meal (chicken! Veggies! Couscous!) with only one dish to wash. More time watching one of my shows or reading a good book and less time standing over the sink? Yes, please!

With its cozy tomato base and fragrant spices, this is a meal worth frequenting during the colder months. Make it for your family or save it all for yourself — it makes delicious leftovers.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

My Favorite One-Skillet Chicken Dinner

Chicken thighs are my forever go-to protein, and eggplant, tomato, and couscous are some of my favorite ingredients, so I decided to combine them all together for the ultimate one-skillet dinner.

You’ll start by searing the chicken thighs on both sides until the skin is brown and crispy. Then, sauté shallot and garlic until fragrant, add tomato paste and spices, then toss in the eggplant, crushed tomatoes, and chicken broth. Lastly, add the couscous to the pan, layer the chicken thighs on top, and cover and cook until the couscous is al dente and the chicken is cooked through. Now that’s a dinner win.

One-Skillet Chicken Thighs with Pearl Couscous and Eggplant Recipe

This one-skillet dish features crispy chicken thighs, pearl couscous, and eggplant simmered in a flavorful tomato base. A complete dinner with minimal dishes to wash? Yes, please!

Prep time 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes to 50 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 6

    bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1

    small shallot (about 3 ounces)

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 1

    large eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds)

  • 1 tablespoon

    tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cayenne pepper

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can

    crushed tomatoes

  • 1 cup

    low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 1/2 cups

    pearl couscous (also known as Israeli)

  • 5

    fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Pat dry 6 chicken thighs and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper.

  2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch skillet or large Dutch oven over medium-high until shimmering. Sear the chicken in batches if needed so as not to crowd the pan: Place the chicken skin-side down in the skillet and cook until browned on the bottom, 8 to 9 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Flip the chicken and cook until the second side is browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

  3. While the chicken is cooking, thinly slice 1 small shallot (about 3 tablespoons) and mince 4 garlic cloves (about 2 tablespoons). Cut 1 large eggplant into 1-inch cubes (about 7 cups).

  4. Once the chicken is browned, add the shallots to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until the shallots are translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, the remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste darkens in color, about 2 minutes.

  5. Add the eggplant, 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, and 1 cup low-sodium broth. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.

  6. Add 1 1/2 cups pearl couscous and stir until thoroughly combined. Return the chicken skin-side up to the pan, nestling it into the couscous mixture, and add any accumulated juices from the plate. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and cook undisturbed until the couscous is al dente, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest covered for 5 minutes. Coarsely chop 5 fresh basil leaves and sprinkle on the chicken and couscous before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.