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Braised Moroccan Chicken

A white plate on a table with a knife and fork, with a serving of Moroccan braised chicken with dates and vegetables, including carrots and zucchini.
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.
Anjum Anand

Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 50 mins
Entrees
Moroccan
4
388 kcal

Ingredients 

  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons mild olive oil
  • 1 medium to large onion thinly sliced into wedges
  • 4 fat garlic cloves grated into a paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon ginger paste or grated ginger mashed on cutting board
  • 3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 4 small chicken thighs bone-in, skinless, trimmed of all fat
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock, canned chicken broth, or vegetable stock
  • Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade tomato paste
  • 1 small carrot sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 small zucchini sliced on the diagonal
  • 6 large dates (or other dried fruit such as figs or apricots), quartered lengthwise
  • Large handful flat-leaf parsley leaves chopped

Directions 

  • 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.