Moroccan braised chicken with dates and vegetables is a stunning North African-spiced dinner, perfect for entertaining or just a family dinner. Chicken thighs simmered with dates and a host of warming spices makes for a fragrant and filling entrée.
If you have a saucepan, a knife, a mortar and pestle, and a functional stovetop—or even a hot plate—you can toss this dinner together. (And heck, you can always borrow the mortar and pestle from a neighbor.) Remarkably, that’s all it takes for you to lend a warming fragrance and flavor to plain old chicken thighs and veggies–not to mention your entire house. The pan sauce of sorts that results is satisfyingly soupy and stewy, with a consistency that you can tweak to taste, an aroma that’s impossible to forget, and a flavor that’s hauntingly complex for something so simple. One saucepan. And one exceptionally tender, spice-infused bird.–LC Editors
CAN I MAKE A VEGETARIAN VERSION OF MOROCCAN BRAISED CHICKEN?
You absolutely can! It’s still deeply spiced and fragrantly flavorsome–and vegetarian. Just omit the chicken and use vegetable stock. You might want to add a few other vegetables, and then stir in a cup or so of drained, canned chickpeas. You can also use a generous 1/4 cup of dried chickpeas that you’ve soaked overnight and cooked until tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Braised Moroccan Chicken
Moroccan Braised Chicken with Dates and Vegetables is a stunning North African-spiced dinner, perfect for entertaining or just a family dinner. Chicken thighs simmered with dates and a host of warming spices makes for a fragrant and filling entrée.
Grind the cinnamon, sesame seeds, and cumin seeds together to make a fine powder—this is a quick job when you use a mortar and pestle although a spice or coffee grinder also works well.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, and cook gently over medium-ish or medium-high-ish heat until soft and coloring at the edges. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. (If the aromatics look as though they may scorch, carefully add a small splash of water to the pan.) Stir in the ground spices, the caraway seeds, and the paprika and stir to create a spice paste of sorts.
Add the chicken, stock, salt and pepper, and tomato paste to the pan, turning to coat the chicken, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 18 minutes. Add the carrot, cover the pan again, and cook for about 8 minutes. Add the zucchini, cover, and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are both cooked through and tender. Add the dates and stir to coat.
Adjust the pan sauce to the desired consistency, if necessary, by either adding a splash of water if it seems too thick or allowing the braise to simmer, uncovered, until some of the liquid evaporates if it seems too thin. Stir in the parsley. Spoon the chicken and vegetables and sauce onto individual plates or a single platter and serve at once.
Serving: 1portionCalories: 388kcal (19%)Carbohydrates: 15g (5%)Protein: 22g (44%)Fat: 27g (42%)Saturated Fat: 6g (38%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 111mg (37%)Sodium: 164mg (7%)Potassium: 628mg (18%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 9g (10%)Vitamin A: 3052IU (61%)Vitamin C: 17mg (21%)Calcium: 74mg (7%)Iron: 3mg (17%)
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Originally published August 13, 2012