One Pot Chicken Bacon Couscous is a dinner time dream recipe. It saves time, and is a full meal in a single pot. Studded with crisp bacon, savory chunks of chicken, tender veggies and all mixed up with fluffy couscous- it was made to be a busy person (or parent’s) best friend & go to meal.
Some days I feel like a darn rock star. I got up on time, got all the kids off on time- possibly even cooked breakfast. You know because most mornings it’s cold bowls of cereal all around.
Then I’ve had a productive day working, both for my job and cleaning up around the house. Obviously copious amounts of coffee are involved on these days. Those days, I’ve also already cooked dinner by 5 pm- or I know what I’m making and everything’s ready & waiting.
Those days are great. Then you’ve got days like today. I was productive, but most of that was spent running errands with the Hubs getting things for the house. Mostly for the garden. Then we had to come home and plant said things. Then put up fencing to keep the deer, chicken, squirrels, etc out of our new greenery and produce.
When that was done, it was time to start the youngest on his homework. I wasn’t too worried about it. It was only the front side of one math worksheet. Math is also one of his best subjects. My roll was basically just to check it over and make sure it was all correct. That’s what my roll was supposed to be anyway. Then I glanced at the worksheet & immediately realized that my child had no clue how to add or subtract fractions reliably.
It made for a long painful, hour long homework lesson- but we got it done. Then I looked at the clock. It’s after six. Nothing’s been pulled out for supper. There’s no plan in mind, the son needs a shower, AND to be in bed by 8 pm sharp. Which is pretty much when I thanked the gifted kitchen goddess that originally came up with this easy one pot chicken bacon couscous.
There are certain things I always keep on hand for just these kind of dinner emergencies. You’ll always find pulled rotisserie chicken in my fridge. In my pantry, there will always be a variety of dried pastas, beans, and rice to choose from- including couscous. If you thought pasta was quick cooking, think again. Couscous puts it to shame by cooking completely in less than 5 minutes.
What exactly is couscous though? You might be surprised to learn that it’s derived from the same main ingredient as traditional pasta- semolina durum wheat. In it’s native Africa, it isn’t formed into different shapes. Instead, it’s shaped into tiny balls.
It was actually a genius way to use all of the wheat and waste nothing. The hard bits that didn’t want to be ground up into flour were sprinkled with water and rolled to form small pellets. Those were then dusted with flour to keep them separate, and any that didn’t take were sieved out and the process repeated.
Thankfully, with the spread of cultural foods world wide- I know what couscous is. Not only can I appreciate it’s amazing ability to readily absorb whatever flavors I throw it’s way- I can also grab it off the shelf at my local grocer’s. We’re not talking about Israeli couscous today either. While pearl couscous is yummy, it’s more pasta like in substance.
Proper, traditional couscous should be light and fluffy when prepared- not gritty like my beloved Southern grits. Think of it a bit like rice, but smaller. And of course, much quicker to cook! Now Let’s dig into the main reason we’re here, the one pot chicken bacon couscous.
You could try to cook this recipe is a regular pot, but since we’re keeping the dishes to a minimum- I really do suggest using a large dutch oven. Bacon needs to be crisp, nobody likes it soggy, and we’re doing that and more in a single dish. Add your bacon in a single layer to the dutch oven that’s been set over medium heat. This will ensure a real crisp with little effort, just make sure to flip the strips over halfway through their cooking.
When the bacon’s done, remove it to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Drain most of the bacon grease out of the pot, but keep roughly two tablespoons. In an otherwise completely lean dish, it lends a great element of flavor. Couscous is pretty bland all by itself, so we’re trying to dress it up nicely.
Add the the pot the carrots, celery, and onion. Stir them around in the bacon drippings, and saute until they’re soft & tender but with just a teensy bit of crunch. I advise adding a pinch of salt to the veggies as they cook. It helps them ‘sweat’ out the moisture and soften quicker without losing all of that crunch I mentioned. At this point, the salt is optional though. Add in a bit of minced garlic, letting it cook for roughly 30 seconds. We want it to infuse the dish, but not burn or turn bitter- which can happen all too easily with fresh garlic.
A dash of white wine is poured into the dish to deglaze it. Make sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom as you stir it in. Those are golden flavor nuggets you don’t want to leave behind! After that, it’s super simple. Chicken broth & the couscous are stirred in. The dish is then brought to a boil, immediately reduced to a simmer- it’s covered and cooked for 4-5 minutes. At this point, stir and ‘fluff’ the couscous just like you would rice. It’s done if the mixture’s airy and has absorbed the liquid.
Chop the bacon and add it & the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Stir them all together until evenly combined. Salt & pepper the couscous, to taste. It really is simple, this one pot chicken bacon couscous.
You can’t beat a one dish meal that is quick, easy, and with no guess work involved. However your day’s gone- fixing this dish for dinner will leave you feeling like a rock star too. Couldn’t we all use a little bit more of that in our busy lives?
Other One Pot Chicken Dishes To Save The Day:
- 6 strips bacon
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
- 2-3 stalks celery, diced
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp white cooking wine
- 1 1/2 cups couscous (not Israeli/pearl)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3-4 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Add the bacon to a large dutch oven, set over medium heat, in a single layer. Cook until crispy, making sure to flip the strips half way through. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Drain the bacon grease from the pot, leaving two tablespoons in it.
- Return the dutch oven to the stove top, again over medium heat. Stir in the diced veggies with a pinch of salt to help them 'sweat' as they tenderize. Stir them occasionally, and cook until softened.
- Stir in the garlic, cooking for an extra 30 seconds. Stir in the wine, deglazing the pan and scraping up any browned bits as you go.
- Add the chicken broth and cous cous, stirring to combine. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 4-5 minutes- until the couscous has cooked and soaked up the liquid.
- Roughly chop the bacon, and add it to the pot along with the chicken, butter, & Italian seasoning. Stir everything to evenly combine and fluff the cous cous. Salt & pepper the dish, to taste, and serve immediately.