Moroccan Chicken with Apricots, Almonds & Chickpeas

I made this wonderful Moroccan chicken about a week ago. This dish is meant to be cooked in a tagine. A tagine is a unique type of ceramic or clay cookware that’s popular in Morocco. The bottom is a wide, circular shallow dish used for both cooking and serving, while the top of the tagine is distinctively shaped into a rounded dome or cone.

The word “tagine” also refers to the dish which is slow-cooked inside the cooking vessel. Typically, a tagine is a rich stew of meat, chicken, or fish, and most often includes vegetables or fruit.

However, you can easily make this dish in a Dutch oven or crockpot.

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Moroccan Chicken with Apricots, Almonds & Chickpeas

Serves 6 to 8

Olive oil
3 lbs chicken legs and thighs (about 4 each)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup dried couscous
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 Tbs honey
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
2 cups (1 15-oz can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbs cilantro, optional, for serving

Warm one tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven (at least 5 1/2-quarts) or tagine over medium-high heat until the oil flows easily and you can see it shimmering. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and place as many as will fit into the pan without crowding. Sear for 5 to 8 minutes, flipping once, until both sides are golden brown. Remove to a clean plate and continue searing the rest of the chicken pieces. If necessary, add more oil to keep a thin film on the bottom of the pan. If the oil starts smoking, turn down the heat.

Pour off all but a teaspoon of oil and return the pan to medium heat. Sauté the onions and carrots with a half teaspoon of salt until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the ginger and spices over top and cook until fragrant, another minute.

Stir the chicken stock and apricots into the pan, scraping up any seared bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Nestle the chicken pieces into the pan; try to fit them in a single layer, but it’s ok if some pieces overlap.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook for 50-60 minutes. The chicken is done when it registers 165° on an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the meat and when its juices run clear.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the couscous and set aside.

Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean plate and tent with foil. Add the honey, almonds, and chickpeas to the pan with the apricots and onions, and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the stew to a rapid simmer and cook until it has thickened slightly. Taste the sauce and add salt if necessary.

To serve, spread the cooked couscous on a serving platter and arrange the chicken pieces on top. Ladle the stew over top, making sure the chicken pieces each get a good coating. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Leftover chicken will keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Notes:
Oven: Prepare the tagine as directed, but instead of simmering on the stovetop, transfer the covered cooking pot to a 300° oven. Cooking time may be slightly longer. Finish on the stovetop as directed.

Slow-Cooker: Transfer the seared chicken directly to a slow cooker. Prepare the onion and spice mixture on the stovetop as directed, including mixing in the broth and apricots. Pour the onion mixture over the chicken, cover, and cook for 4-6 hours on HIGH. Finish on the stovetop as directed.

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