Monday, June 21, 2010

Moroccan Chicken Stew

This week, I made the unfortunate choice to go to see Sex and the City 2. I went into this movie with low expectations, and it somehow managed to be even worse than my wildest dreams. From a bizarre cameo by Liza Minelli in a unitard to a particularly embarrassing bout of karaoke, I found myself wondering how it was possible for an amazing series to fall so far.

One of the only redeeming parts of this movie was the lovely scenery we got to witness as we lived vicariously through the girls' ridiculously far-fetched and unnecessary trip to the Middle East. Though the story takes place in Abu Dhabi, the scenes were actually filmed in Morocco. It was wonderful to see the decadent spice markets and imagine all the flavors and smells. In fact, it even inspired me to make my Moroccan Chicken Stew!

This recipe is rich, hearty, and fragrant and is a great "clean out your pantry and spice cabinet" meal for all you people moving out for the summer. It also makes enough for delicious leftovers to store in your fridge or freezer. This would also be an exotic, fun dish to bring to a potluck. Enjoy!


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained. Also known as garbanzo beans.
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 onion

  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup of diced carrots. You can add more or less if you'd like. I cut up some leftover baby carrots I had in my fridge.
  • 1.5 cups of raisins. Once again, more or less if you'd like.
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. cumin. Adds a rich, smoky flavor.
  • 2 tbsp. ground ginger. Sweet and tangy!
  • 1.5 tbsp. cinnamon. Warm and sweet.
  • 1.5 tbsp. ground coriander. Fresh and lemony. Fun fact: coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant! If you don't have ground coriander, you can grind the whole seeds like I did.
  • 2 bay leaves. These are great for making any stew savory and delicious- just make sure to remove them before eating the stew!
  • 1 tbsp. salt

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked. Optional. You can also serve the stew over couscous (the more traditional Moroccan option), but quinoa is healthier and has a nice lil crunch to it. You could also use rice if you are trying to clean out your pantry and have some on hand.

The great thing about this recipe is how flexible it is. If you have extra veggies in the fridge you are looking to get rid of, throw em in the pot! Also, if you are vegetarian, you can even leave the chicken out.


Chop up your onion and carrots.

If your coriander is whole seeds, put them in a Ziploc baggie and smash them with a rolling pin until they comply with your wishes.

Measure out your lovely spices (coriander, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon) to admire them....

.... Or just add them to another Ziploc bag with the flour and salt. Cut your chicken breasts into bite sized cubes and throw them in the bag, shaking to coat all the pieces in the flour and spices.

At this point, you can start preparing your quinoa. Follow the directions on the bag, dummy!

Heat some olive oil in a large high-sided skillet or saucepan over medium high. Add your chicken and let it brown up on all sides.

Enjoy the scent of spices that should now be wafting through your kitchen, and imagine yourself in the arms of a sexy Arabian man.

Once the chicken is brown on all sides (not cooked all the way through), remove it from the pan and reserve on a plate. Add the garlic, onion, and carrots to the pan with some more olive oil. Stir to coat with the spices and drippings in the pan and let them soften and cook together.

After the veggies have softened (about five minutes), add the tomatoes, chicken broth, chickpeas, raisins, and bay leaves. Sprinkle in the rest of the flour and spices in your Ziploc bag from the chicken (don't dump it in all at once or it will become one big lump.)

Stir everything to combine, and add the reserved chicken back into the pot.

Let everything simmer for about half an hour until the chicken is cooked all the way through and your house smells like a Moroccan spice market. Remove the bay leaves (they are tough and can't be eaten) and serve the stew over the cooked quinoa.

Garnish with some fresh cilantro and more raisins if you'd like, and dig in!

Belhana wel shefa-- Google tells me this means "bon appetit" in Arabic!