Moroccan Chicken Stew

If it is a cold day,  you might be thinking about a hot bowl of soup for dinner.  Soup is always warm and inviting but you might want something just a little more substantial for your main meal of the day. Try taking some basic soup ingredients and turn them into an exotic tasting stew. Using a combination of herbs and spices, combined with vegetables and chicken thighs, you can take your taste buds on trip to Morocco.

This colorful stew was inspired by the spice markets of North Africa. It is so fragrant that your home will be filled with intoxicating aromas that will have you pacing in front of the stove waiting for the slow simmering stew to be ready to eat.

For this recipe, you will need four cups of chicken stock. If you don’t have homemade chicken stock, here is what you can do. Put one can of chicken broth and four cups of water in a large pot. Add a stalk of celery, a carrot, an onion, several cloves of garlic, a bay leaf,  a sprig or two of fresh thyme and parsley, five or six peppercorns, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about thirty minutes until flavorful. Strain the broth and use in this or any recipe calling to chicken stock.

Moroccan Chicken Stew Served Over Mint Couscous

Moroccan Chicken Stew

  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 6 chicken thighs (about 2 lb.)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 or 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • l large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 can, diced tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric or saffron
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • l Tbsp.  or more lemon juice, plus zest of one lemon

Bring the chicken  stock to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add the chicken thighs making sure they are completely covered with stock. Cover and poach for ten minutes. Take off the heat and let sit covered for an additional ten minutes. Remove the thighs and when cool enough to handle shred the meat into bite size chunks. Reserve the stock. Recipe can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated.

Add the olive oil to a large pot, add the chopped onion and carrots and sauté until onions are soft. Add the garlic, herbs and seasonings and sauté for one minute. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and reduce to a gentle simmer. Add the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas and simmer until the vegetable are just tender. Add the zucchini and chicken and simmer for five minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest and taste. Add additional seasoning if necessary.

Moroccan Chicken Stew Over Mint Couscous Served With Condiments

I serve this stew on top of steamed couscous that I mix with chopped fresh mint. Fresh cilantro would also be appropriate.  On the side, I have little condiment bowls filled with chopped dried fruits and nuts.

Take my recipe and make it your own. Make it vegetarian by eliminating the chicken, using vegetable stock and additional vegetables. Make it more spicy by adding harissa (a Moroccan hot sauce). Experiment with the spices and herbs. I think this is one dish that you will enjoy and hopefully will make over and over.


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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

88 thoughts on “Moroccan Chicken Stew

  1. This would be perfect for today, Karen, with the snow falling outside my window. I have chicken thawing in the sink and have everything but the zucchini. Thanks for sharing your recipe! Stay warm and enjoy your weekend, Candace

    1. Hi Mad Dog, Thank you for you nice compliment. I really enjoy serving harissa on the side…I like spicy but not everyone does. Sounds like we have the same tastes.

  2. I like the spice combination in this, it sounds very tasty and different from my usual stuff. I think it would be good over brown rice too, though less Moroccan without the couscous. Thanks for sharing it 🙂

    1. Hi Judy, Thank you for the nice compliment. The spice combination is very good. Yes you could serve it over brown rice but as you said it is not the traditional Moroccan way. As I always say…make it the way you like it.

  3. I will be trying this the vegetarian way and will let you know. I made your stuffed peppers the other night and we really enjoyed them. The only ingredient I didn’t used, and I would’ve liked to, was the pinenut. They are way too expensive around here…I would rather buy my “expensive” beer. ; )~~Bliss

    1. Hi Bliss, I hope you enjoy the vegetarian version. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the stuffed peppers. Expensive beer instead of expensive pinenuts sounds good to me.

    2. Someone at a farmer’s market suggested using sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts to me once. I made pesto that way and it was quite tasty. Perhaps you can drink your “expensive” beer and have some nuts, too. 🙂

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for your nice compliment. You are so lucky to have spices directly from Africa…they have to be so much fresher than anything I can get. Enjoy the recipe.

  4. Wow, Karen! This stew of yours has my mouth watering. I would love to have a pot of this simmering away on my stove top right now. Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

  5. Karen, this dish looks so warming, hearty and so original in your spices choice! Actually it looks and sounds much much better than most of what I had on my trip to Morocco 😉

    1. Hi Sissi, Thank you so much for your nice compliment. Actually it is better than the one meal I had in Morocco many years ago. I’d love to go back and discover a great restaurant.

  6. Oooh, this looks amazing! I particularly liked that you used chicken thighs – so moist and flavorful AND the condiments! This one is a real winner and I’m glad you posted it!

  7. When we were at Epcot in October the Moroccan restaurant was our favorite (even the kids.) There was a couscous dish that was wonderful and it had a lot of the same flavors and spices as this does. This sounds delicious and very healthy to boot:-)

  8. Beautiful colours Karen – I discovered a couscous restaurant near Paris recently which serves something quite similar, and I sometimes make something a bit like it myself, although I don’t usually herb the couscous underneath – that’s a great idea, I’ll give that a try!

    1. Thank you Charles, for your nice compliment. I know that you must have some wonderful restaurants near you. I think that you will enjoy the fresh herbs in the couscous.

  9. I love this! I like that I could actually make it two ways. I do prefer vegetarian, but when my son or daughter and their families are visiting, I usually cook with chicken for them. Everyone would love this! I’m unfamiliar wit harissa, and would like to look into that! I also like that it has a little saffron. This will be a winner in my family! Debra

    1. Hi Debra, Thank you so much for your lovely compliment. I hope you and your family will enjoy this meal. Harissa can be found in the ethnic food section of some markets, either in a a very small can or tube.

  10. Hi Karen,
    🙂 I just wanted to thank you for being one of my biggest supporters last year, 2011. You left quite a few comments and I really appreciate you!
    Thanks so much for helping me to keep going.
    Zoe 🙂

    1. Thank you Zoe, for your kind words. I know that we all enjoy the comments and support we receive from our fellow bloggers. I try to visit and comment as often as I can.

  11. I love a good Moroccan Stew, and yours looks fantastic. I’ll have to try it, especially in this cold weather we are having. Happy Monday!

    1. Thank you Cathy, for your lovely compliment. This is really a delicious dish, the flavor improves if you have leftovers and it also freezes well.

    1. Hi Claire, Thank you for your nice comment. I have seen recipes for harissa but have never made it. I buy mine in a tube which seems to keep so well since I don’t use it as often as other condiments.

  12. Hi Karen 🙂 This sounds wonderful! As soon as I finish up some of my soups from the freezer I will be making this. I have everything except the smoked paprika – I’ve seen it in recipes and have been curious as to what flavor it imparts. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Cher, Thank you for your nice compliment. I know you will enjoy the recipe. Smoked paprika has an earthier flavor than regular paprika. I find I am using the smoked paprika more often than regular but you could definitely use regular.

  13. I never had Moroccan food, but from the list of ingredients I already know that I’ll like it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week Karen 🙂

  14. This all looks good, but I am particularly intrigued by the mint couscous. That sounds like a fabulous accompaniment to Middle Eastern and Moroccan dishes.

    1. Thank you for your compliment. When the stew hits the fresh mint in the couscous…the smell is wonderful and it really is a nice combination of flavors.

  15. What a lovely stew Karen and it brings me back to when we vacationed in Morocco in November, last year. Their food is so satisfying, I can honestly say we never had a bad meal. We even took a couple of cooking courses and I’ve had the pleasure of trying them out on friends. It’s interesting that you steam your couscous, I’ve only just become aware of that cooking method during our cooking course in Morocco!

    1. Thank you Eva, for your lovely compliment. Oh you must have had some wonderful meals. The spices in Moroccan cuisine are so wonderful and the aromas in the kitchen are so delightful.

  16. wow thats a lovely recipe! I love maroccan food. We actualy grew up with couscous and co, since lots of maroccans live in france. I can smell the fragrance of the dish and I ll make this dish one evening. thanks for sharing Karen! =)

    1. Hi Chris, Thank you for your very nice comment. Yes, I was in Morocco a long time ago. I’m glad that you liked to tip. Sandra whats-her-name LOL.

  17. oh! yum! just discovered your blog! i love this stew! i mean, who can resist it? chicken?? and moroccan??? yummm!!!

    Amanda
    softandstiffpeaks.blogspot.com

    1. Thank you, Tin Man for your nice comment. I’ll check for drool…it seems to be happening a lot lately. This is a delicious and very flavorful recipe that I think you will enjoy.

  18. I’m so glad you are reviving these African dishes.While in France, I was fortunate to have a meal with a Moroccan family. The meal was really good. The pairing of spices have lasted the test of time. So good! 💖

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