Pic of Chicken, pepper and maftoul bowl with saffron and olives

Chicken, pepper and maftoul bowl with saffron and olives

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Meat mains

Chicken, pepper and maftoul bowl with saffron and olives

Main Serves 2 45 min
This is a healthy and simple dish with Spanish style flavours from the rosemary, olives and saffron. We've mixed things up a little by using maftoul, a giant hand-rolled couscous style grain from the Middle East. If you made this again you could use couscous or bulghur instead, or rice.

Cook's notes

Slicing the chicken horizontally in half just means it cooks a little more quickly and also evenly, keeping it moist. It also means if you're making a similar thing again, you can often get away with using just one chicken breast between two people, good for a bit of food budgeting.


  • 1 onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • 2 carrots
  • oil for frying e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 1 red pepper
  • 10g rosemary
  • 30g fresh parsley
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 150g maftoul
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 120g black olives
  • salt and pepper
Image of Chicken, pepper and maftoul bowl with saffron and olives


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 35 min
  • Step 1

    Peel and finely dice the onion. Wash and finely dice the celery. Peel and finely dice the carrots. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, celery and carrots. Cook on a low heat for 15 minutes. Stir now and then to stop them catching. Add a splash of water if they looks like they might at any stage.
  • Step 2

    Once the veg starts cooking, deseed and finely dice the red pepper. Finely chop the rosemary leaves so they look like breadcrumbs.
  • Step 3

    Add both to the veg in the pan as soon as you've chopped them and carry on cooking until the 15 minutes is up. Meanwhile, wash and finely chop the parsley. Slice the chicken breasts horizontally in half, so you have 4 thinner pieces (so it's quicker to cook).
  • Step 4

    You can leave the skin on or remove it, as you like (I keep it on). After 15 minutes, add the tomato purée to the pan. Stir for 1 minute. Add the maftoul, chicken stock, saffron and olives to the veg. Refill the chicken stock pack half full with water and add that (i.e. 250ml) to start with.
  • Step 5

    Heat to a low to medium boil, then cook for 15 minutes or so, until the maftoul is just tender. Keep an eye on the liquid and top up with a little more water as needed. Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Step 6

    Heat a layer of oil in a non-stick frying pan. Fry the chicken, for 3-4 minutes each side until golden and cooked through (no pink juices remain). Any pieces with skin on may need an extra 1 minute or so. Leave to rest until
  • Step 7

    the maftoul is cooked.
  • Step 8

    Once cooked, season the maftoul to taste. Stir in most of the chopped parsley. Serve in wide bowls, with the chicken on top, sprinkled with the remaining parsley.

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