Moroccan cuisine is beloved for its delectable blend of spices and herbs, combined with slow-cooking techniques that can produce mouthwateringly moist chicken thighs and an unbeatably morish meal!
With a tagine pot, the right spices, and plenty of patience, you can prepare a beautifully tender, moist, and unbearably addictive Morrocan chicken tagine for yourself and the rest of your family.
Bring the tastes and flavors of Morroco back home, with our chicken thigh tagine recipe!
Moist Moroccan Chicken Thighs Recipe
- 1lb of skinless chicken thighs, diced
- 2 tbsp of ras el hanout spice mix
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp of harissa
- 2 lemons
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
- 2 ounces of pitted kalamata olives
- 3 ounces of dried apricots
- Fresh coriander, chopped
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 ounces of flaked almonds
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of couscous
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Fresh mint, chopped
- 3 ounces of pomegranate seeds
Chicken tagine ingredients
Directions for chicken tagine
- On the stovetop, heat a drizzle of oil in the bottom of your tagine pot.
- Chop your onion and mince your garlic before adding it to the pot with the cinnamon stick and ras el hanout spices.
- Allow the onions to soften before you add the harissa paste. Cook for 1 min.
- Add the chicken thighs to the pot and cook them until all of the pieces are browned.
- Cut your lemons into quarters. Take out the inside, and slide the peel into fine slices.
- Add the lemon peel, the insides of the lemon, tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, and apricots to the tagine pot.*
- Allow the Moroccan chicken thighs to simmer in the tagine pot for 40 min.
- Prepare your couscous while you allow the tagine to simmer (see further couscous directions below).
- When the chicken is soft and tender (and falls off the fork), take the tagine off the heat.
- Serve the Morrocan chicken thighs with a sprinkling of toasted almond flakes, and fresh cilantro and parsley.
Directions for couscous
- Prepare your chicken stock, and heat it on the stovetop in a large saucepan. Don't boil the chicken stock, but just have it simmering.
- Pour your couscous into a separate saucepan, then slowly pour the hot chicken stock over the couscous. Place a lid over the saucepan and leave the couscous to sit for 10 min.
- Take your freshly chopped cilantro and freshly chopped mint, and mix into the couscous.
- Add the pomegranate seeds, and slowly mix everything into the couscous.
*If the Moroccan chicken thighs start to dry out too much, you can add chicken or vegetable stock as you need it. The idea is to make the chicken as moist a possible, so don't be shy!
Moroccan chicken thighs recipe FAQ
Moroccan chicken tagine is a labor of love that can take a few attempts to get exactly the way you like it. To help you to slow cook the most morish and delectable of Moroccan chicken thighs, here's a quick FAQ to answer any questions you might have about preparing the recipe!
How do I know my chicken is cooked?
When you're cooking Moroccan chicken thighs (and this is the same for all chicken dishes too, of course), it's always really important that you're certain that the chicken is cooked all the way through.
Before simmering the tagine, you'll have already browned the chicken thigh pieces, but you still need to be careful that the chicken is actually cooked right through to its center. If you notice any pink bits, then leave the chicken to simmer for longer. If you poke the chicken pieces with a fork, then the fork should come out of the chicken hot.
The beauty of a tagine, is that the longer you simmer the ingredients, the tastier it's going to be, so don't worry about overcooking (the longer, the better!).
Can I prepare Moroccan chicken thighs ahead of time?
Yes, this is the perfect recipe to prepare well ahead of time. Prepare your tagine ingredients in the morning or even the night before. You can simmer everything, and then let it cool down, before leaving it covered on the side, or leaving overnight in the fridge.
When you're ready for dinner, you can heat the tagine up and finish it off on the stovetop while you prepare your fresh couscous. If you're doing this, try to save the cilantro and other fresh herbs until you actually serve the dish, that way you can give it that tasty fresh boost!
Can I marinate the chicken thighs?
Truly authentic tagine takes a long time to prepare and to cook. If you have the time, you can give your chicken thighs a tasty kick by allowing them to marinate overnight in the fridge.
You can prepare your spices in advance, and mix them all together in a large bowl, before then rubbing the spices into the chicken thighs. Allow them to simply sit in the fridge until you're ready to cook with them the next day, and they should be much, much tastier!
How long can I store tagine in the fridge?
If you've made too much tagine, then you can keep it in the fridge and reheat it again later. To keep in the flavor, we wouldn't recommend leaving it for more than 48 hours before you eat it. Store it in a resealable bag or container, or simply keep it in the tagine pot you cooked it in!
When you're ready to reheat, you're best letting it slowly simmer on the stovetop, so it heats all the way through. If you're in a hurry, then you can blast it quickly in the microwave, but we don't recommend this if you want to keep in the taste.
Can I freeze tagine?
We'll be honest with you here; tagine isn't the best meal to freeze. You can do it, but it can make the tagine super watery when you thaw it, and you're bound to lose many of the fresher spices and tastes.
If you do freeze the tagine, then make sure you freeze it in a suitable container or a ziplock bag. When it's time to eat again, try to let it thaw naturally on the side, overnight if you have to. To reduce the liquid, allow the tagine to reheat by simmering it slowly on the stovetop in a saucepan or in the tagine pot.
Do I have to use chicken thighs?
Our recipe calls for chicken thighs but sliced and diced into small cuts that are easy to simmer. Chicken thighs are the most authentic, and in our opinion, flavorful part for the chicken that you can use for stewing, but you can use other parts of the chicken too if you need to.
Chicken breasts taste the best if you don't have thighs, but just make sure you've cut the meat up into small pieces, so the chicken has time to cook all the way through to its core.
Do I have to use chicken for tagine?
This main ingredient for this tagine recipe is chicken thighs, but not all tagines have to use chicken or even meat for them to be delicious. The term tagine actually refers to both the type of pot that's used for cooking in Morocco, and the type of stew that you cook.
Tagine is more of a cooking process, and for that reason, you can take the same principles and prepare beef tagine, lamb tagine, and even vegetarian tagines too. It's more about the blend of Moroccan spices and the slow cooking that brings out the flavors than the meat itself, so don't be afraid to experiment.
Can you make vegan tagine?
Instead of chicken thighs, you could also use tofu or a similar vegan substitute to make this a vegan-style Morrocan dish. You can even just use vegetables, such as eggplant or zucchini if you don't have any tofu or Quorn products to use instead of the chicken.
Cut out the chicken stock and exclusively use vegetable stock, and this is a dish that is essentially a vegan one anyway, for the most part!
Do I need a tagine pot?
For a truly authentic Morrocan chicken thighs dish, then you really need to be cooking the ingredients, slowly, in a tagine pot. A tagine is as much about the way you cook, as it is about the ingredients, so for that reason, a tagine pot is going to help bring out those Morrocan-style flavors.
A tagine pot has a conical lid, which allows the flavors to be kept inside the dish, as they are recirculated during the cooking process. The closest you'll get to this is in a standard saucepan with a lid, but you won't quite achieve the same richness of flavor as you will by cooking in a tagine pot.
Moroccan Chicken Thighs Takeaway
That's it for our Moroccan chicken thigh stew recipe! This slow-cooked recipe is overflowing with flavor, spice, and taste, so why not bookmark it for the next time you're craving an authentic taste of Moroccan cuisine?
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