Moroccan Spiced Chicken Stew

Moroccan Spiced Chicken Stew

If you are tired of serving the same meals over and over, try Moroccan Spiced Chicken Stew. This exotic sounding but simple one pot meal from North Africa can be prepared in under an hour. Your family and friends will love this delicious dish filled with tender chicken, chickpeas and vegetables simmered in a broth seasoned with warming spices.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken Stew
Moroccan Spiced Chicken Stew With Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas And Vegetables

Served with a side of fluffy couscous to absorb the  flavorful and aromatic sauce, the stew is light yet filling. It is perfectly seasoned but if you want something spicy hot, you can serve the stew with a small bowl of harissa, a spicy Moroccan chili pepper paste, on the side for added heat and flavor.

This Moroccan chicken stew recipe is easily adapted to your own taste and preferences. Leave out the chicken and substitute the chicken stock with vegetable broth and you will have a wonderful vegetarian meal. Other vegetables such a pumpkin, carrots, parsnips or turnips could also be used.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken Stew
Moroccan Spiced Chicken Stew Is Perfect When Entertaining Friends

If you will be preparing this dish for an evening with friends, I suggest serving the chicken stew with a condiment tray of dried fruits such as apricots, prunes, raisins, figs, dates, cashews and pistachios. Pitted olives, chopped preserved lemons, fresh mint and cilantro are also good toppings for the stew.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken Stew

Serves 2 to 4, adjust the recipe accordingly.

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (figure 2 thighs a person), cut into bite size pieces
  • Flour for dredging the chicken
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. peeled, grated fresh ginger (about a 1 inch piece) or 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. Ras El Hanout* a traditional North African spice mix available from ethnic markets and some grocery stores
  • 2 tsp. harissa, a Moroccan chili pepper paste that comes in a can or tube (adjust to your preference for heat)
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces
  • 3 – 4 c. chicken stock, homemade if possible
  • l large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 15.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 yellow squash, cubed
  • chopped cilantro, garnish (optional)
  • 1 c. dried couscous, prepared according to package directions.

*Ras El Hanout is a Moroccan blend of spices such as cardamom, cayenne, coriander, cumin, paprika, peppercorns and turmeric with a little sweetness from spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. If you can’t find the blend at your local market, you can find a recipe at the link I’ve underlined in blue above. You can also just add a little extra of the other spices I’ve listed for this recipe.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper then dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium and when hot, add the chicken. Cook until just browned, about 1 – 2 minutes per side then transfer to a plate. Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, all the spices and the harissa and stir to mix well then cook, stirring for a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and reserved chicken, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes until the sweet potatoes are just getting tender. Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Add in the zucchini and squash and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

While the stew is simmering, prepare the couscous according to the package directions. Fluff and keep warm. To serve the stew, place a little couscous in individual bowls then ladle in some stew and garnish with cilantro, if desired.


  • Try to cut the vegetables into equal sizes so that they will cook evenly.


Moroccan chicken stew is perfect for entertaining a group. If you are planning to serve the stew to guests, you can have it prepared an hour ahead of time. To do so, only cook the squash until barely tender crisp, cover the pot and place in a 200 degree oven until your guests arrive. The ingredients will continue to cook and the flavors will meld. When your friends step in your kitchen, they will be greeted by the wonderful aromas of this flavorful dish. Serve the chicken stew with warmed pitas or flatbreads and a condiment tray of dried fruits, nuts, herbs and harissa, for those who like it hot, and your guests will be very happy.

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

74 thoughts on “Moroccan Spiced Chicken Stew

  1. Great recipe. I love Moroccan food. I watched ras el hanout being ground for me at a stall in the spice market in Marrakesh. Luckily I can easily buy it in supermarkets in London.

    1. Hi Kay, Marrakesh must have been a wonderful experience. I’m happy that I too can get Ras El Hanout at one of our markets too. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m glad you like the recipe.

  2. That looks delicious. You are quite right to serve it with additional harissa on the side, most Moroccan places do this because some of the heat and flavour dissipates during cooking.

    1. You are so right Mad Dog about some of the heat and flavor disappearing when cooking the harissa. Thank you for your compliment about the chicken stew.

    1. Hi Jenna, I think if you branch out of your comfort zone by using these spices that you won’t be disappointed. I’m glad you like the recipe, thank you.

  3. I had a dish like this in Marrakech. I love the flavor of all the different spices. Thank you for sharing this tasty recipe.

    1. Hi Gerlinde, Another one of my foodie friends who has traveled to Marrakech…I wish I could say the same thing. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m glad you like the recipe.

    1. Thank you Sylvia, I’m glad that you not only like the recipe but the suggested accompaniment to go along with the Moroccan chicken stew. 😘

    1. Hi Ladyfi, You are right…by adding more chickpeas and changing the chicken stock to vegetable stock you will have a wonderful vegetarian meal.

    1. Thank you for your lovely compliment Ronit, I’m happy to know that you like the Moroccan chicken stew recipe. You are right, it is very aromatic and flavorful.

    1. Hi Judi, I do hope you get a chance to try the Moroccan chicken stew, the spices give it so much flavor. Thank you for your lovely compliment.

  4. I really like Moroccan dishes. The spicing is so interesting! This looks great — tons of flavor, and pretty healthy. Good stuff — thanks.

  5. I was just thinking in the past few days that I needed a nice stew or soup recipe that was off the charts with new flavors for us. This is just perfect. I’m always trying to figure out what to do with spices that intrigue me like curry, turmeric, and cardamom. So mysterious! I’m going to try this, Karen.

    I’m wondering if you have any recommendations and links for buying herbs and spices in various quantities. I’m over hauling my spice racks and need to pay more attention to what I use more and less of.


    1. Hi Jane, I’m so happy to know that you like the recipe for Moroccan chicken stew, thank you very much. You are lucky in where you can purchases spices, there is The Spice House in the Chicago area that has a very good reputation.

    1. Thank you Helen, I’m happy that you like the recipe for the Moroccan chicken stew. If you enjoy a good curry then I’m sure you would enjoy the stew.

  6. GMTA! I made a Moroccan-inspired chicken dish just last week. I wish I had stopped here first, because your ingredient list is so intricate. I’ll bet your dish has many levels of flavor.

  7. yum! this would taste even better the next day. i love ras el hanout and i love harissa and i love couscous! so many wins in this dish for me. middle eastern and moroccan food are my fave cuisines i think. cheers sherry

  8. What an appetizing stew with so many delectable spices. Looks delicious to prepare for a fall or winter evening, even the colors of the vegetables look fallish!

    1. Hi Kim, I appreciate your nice compliment and am happy to know that you like my suggestions for accompaniments to go along with the Moroccan chicken stew.

  9. Hi Karen. This sounds delicious. Of course, I would go for the vegetarian version. 😉 I love the spice Ras el hanout, but it is hard to find one without paprika, which I am allergic to. I suppose I should mix my own… Thanks for the reminder. I shall have to make this one winter’s evening. 🙂

    1. Hi Cathy, yes it is very easy to turn the stew into a vegetarian dish. I think making your own Ras El Hanout blend is the perfect answer since you are allergic to paprika. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  10. This would be a nice change from the usual same-old, same-old dinners I serve my family. I can appreciate the fact that it’s essentially a light and healthy meal, and the spices sound delicious! I like that it could be easily made into a vegetarian dish. My daughter would love that!

    1. Hi Vagabonde, I’m happy that my recipe has given you the inspiration on how to use your Ras el Ranout spices. BTW, I’m sorry that I’m not able to leave a comment on your blog, it looks like Nashville is the place to spend part of the holiday season.

  11. This dish would be the perfect reminder of our time spent in Morroco a few years ago. In fact, we were just mentioning that we need to cook a tajine, but this dish looks so much easier to prepare. Using seasonal vegetables is also a great idea. The one thing I wasn’t in love with in Morroco was that they cooked the veggies to death, but in this recipe they cook them to perfection!

    1. Hi Eva, you are right, the stew is definitely easier than a tajine but has all the wonderful seasonings. Thank you for your nice compliment and I’m glad that the post brought back memories of your travels to Morocco.

    1. Thank you Susan for your nice compliment. With the purchase of a few spices, you can easily prepare some different and flavorful dishes. I hope you give Moroccan recipes a try, I think you would enjoy them.

    1. Thank you Amalia, I hope you enjoyed the Moroccan chicken stew if you got a chance to make it. BTW, I’m having trouble leaving comments on your blog but thank you for the suggestion of the Lady Sherlock Holmes series.

  12. So many delicious flavors! I once hosted a Moroccan dinner for the gourmet group that I was in. This would have been a wonderful addition to the menu!

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