This spin on the traditional Moroccan chicken stew recipe is an excellent meal for any season. Bursting with bold flavors and loaded with veggies, creating a perfect one-pot meal. Best of all, it can all be whipped up in a single pot and done in just under an hour, making it ideal for busy families who strive to keep their meals homemade and healthy.
The first days of autumn bring us cooler temps, longer sleeves, and beautiful colors in nature, as well as cravings for comfort foods. It's no coincidence that we gravitate toward warm and cozy foods filled with comforting spices, as if our bodies have a built-in, eat-in-season sensor. Also, have you ever noticed how the colors in our food reflect the colors outside? Think butternut squash, pumpkins, and apples, reflecting yellow, orange, and red leaves of fall. This Moroccan chicken stew is an excellent example of eating in season and is filled with bold spices, root vegetables, and fall squash. Moreover, it fills up the kitchen with delicious aromas of cinnamon and cumin - flavors you won't be able to pass up.
What is Moroccan chicken tagine?
Moroccan chicken stew, also known as Moroccan chicken tagine, is a North African dish of stewed chicken and veggies. It often includes olives, preserved lemons, dried apricots, and zesty spices and made with poultry, meats, or just vegetables.
In addition, the word tagine means a cooking vessel that is ceramic or made from clay. A tagine has a wide and shallow bottom and a cone-shaped top, allowing the heat to travel up and create steam.
Customarily, a tagine clay pot is used when preparing this meal, but it's not necessary. A dutch oven or a heavy bottom pot will do the trick.
With less than 10 ingredients, this recipe is easy to follow. Just prepare all the ingredients first.
- chicken thighs - Bone-in and skin-on will give the most flavor. If using boneless, adjust the cooking time, as it will take much less time to cook
- spices (cumin, cinnamon, smoked paprika, coriander) + salt
- oil + butter
- butternut squash
- can of tomatoes - This can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes adds a smokey flavor
- can of chickpeas
- fresh parsley (I like to add it for extra flavor)
How to make Moroccan chicken stew
1| Season and brown the chicken
Season and rub the chicken thighs with half of the spice mixture and salt.
Heat a heavy bottom pot or a dutch oven over medium-high heat. A 4 to 6 Quart pot would work best. Use the larger size, especially if the meat pieces are large or if doubling the recipe.
Once the pot is hot, add oil and half of the butter. Add chicken skin-side down, and cook until it is browned and crispy on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip to the other side, and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove to a plate or a bowl. If doubling the recipe or making a little extra, repeat with a second batch.
2| Sauté vegetables and aromatics
Add diced onion and minced garlic to the pot. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, mix the onion (this will help pick up all the brown bits and combine to form a delicious sauce base). Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the onion has softened.
Add the remaining butter and spices and combine them with the spatula. Next, add potatoes and butternut squash and combine. Add dried parsley for extra flavor (if using).
3|Making the sauce
Empty the can of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes into the pot. (See note below for alternative options - I prefer the fire-roasted kind for their smoky flavor, but any of these will work. ) Using the empty can from tomatoes, fill with water or stock and empty the liquid into the pot.
Add chickpeas. Place the chicken, including all the juices that accumulated in the bowl, into the pot. Add fresh parsley. If the chicken and vegetables are not mostly covered, feel free to add more water or stock.
Once the sauce is bubbling, season with salt, close with the lid, and turn the heat to low. Cook for about 35 to 40 minutes or until butternut squash and chickpeas are fork-tender.
This recipe is full of flavor, so a neutral and mild side like couscous, quinoa, rice, or even cauliflower rice would pair nicely.
Lastly, garnish with fresh herbs, such as mint or cilantro.
Want more fall dinner recipes?
Lastly, if you try this recipe, I would love to hear about it! Be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! And if you snapped some photos, tag and share them with me on Instagram.
- 2 lbs chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on), If using boneless - adjust/decrease cooking time
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, divided in half
- 1 onion, medium, thinly diced
- 5-6 cloves garlic cloves, minced
- 3-4 potatoes, golden, cubed (about the same ratio of squash to potatoes)
- 1 butternut squash, small to medium-size, peeled and cubed
- 1.5 - 2 cups water or chicken stock
- 1 - 14 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes, can sub with regular can of tomatoes
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- fresh parsley, optional
- cilantro or mint, optional for garnish
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon dry parsley, optional
- In a small bowl/container, measure out and gather all the spices, excluding salt.
- Pat dry chicken. In a medium bowl, season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and half of the spice mixture. Rub all over.
- Over medium-high heat, heat a dutch oven or a heavy bottom pan (about 4 qt size). Once the pan is hot, add oil, about 1 tablespoon or just enough to coat the bottom and about ½ tablespoon of butter.
- Add chicken, skin side down. Cook (uninterrupted) until crispy, about 5 min. Flip to the other side, and cook for an additional 4-5 min. Remove chicken to a bowl/plate. (If using more chicken or larger pieces, brown the chicken in two batches)
- Add onion and garlic to the pan and mix with a spatula, picking up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 4-5 min until the onion is softened. Add the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter and the remaining spices, mix with a spatula and cook for a minute.
- Add cubed potatoes and butternut squash to the pan, mix and cook for 4 minutes.
- Add a can of tomatoes, then using the same can fill it with water and add to the pot. Add chickpeas. Add back the chicken plus all the juices on the bottom of the bowl. Add fresh parsley.
- When the liquid starts bubbling, season with ½ teaspoon salt, close the lid, and turn heat to low. Cook/simmer for about 35 - 40 minutes or until butternut squash and chickpeas are forktender.
Garnish with fresh cilantro or mint