Moroccan Chicken Stew is hearty and filling. It’s perfect for a winter dinner or any cool evening. Serve this over couscous or rice.
Made with harissa and tomato-based stock, this dish is bursting with classic flavors that are sure to please.
You really can’t go wrong with this one.
Ingredients for Moroccan Chicken Stew
*For a full list of ingredients please refer to the recipe card below.
Saffron Threads - Said to be the world’s most expensive spice, saffron is worth every penny for its floral earthy flavor and the vibrant color it adds to the stew.
Saffron powder can also be substituted. In a pinch, you could also substitute equal parts turmeric and paprika, but the flavor will be different.
Onion and Celery - These will be chopped thin to give more flavor and texture to the dish. Some other variations add other veggies such as sweet potatoes.
Butter and Olive Oil - I use both of these together for this recipe. You can replace the butter with ghee if you prefer.
Tomato Paste and Harissa - These are the flavor bases for the dish. Harissa is a hot chile paste made from dried red chiles and roasted red peppers. You can use prepared harissa or make your own Harissa from scratch.
Flour - Regular all-purpose flour works well or substitute chickpeas flour instead.
Chickpeas - Cooked chickpeas are the best for this dish, but canned works great too. Just be sure to drain them well.
Pesto - I love the pop of color and the burst of flavor that pesto gives to this dish. It can be used as a garnish - one tablespoon per bowl.
How to Make This African Chicken Stew - Video (in recipe card):
- Prep the Saffron
There are several ways you can prepare the saffron threads. I like to crush them my mortar and pestle and add them to some lukewarm water.
Some people use hot water instead, and others sprinkle them over ice cubes and allow them to melt before using.
Choose the method you prefer and then set them aside to bloom until you’re ready to use them.
*Just a note: Saffron threads are actually the stigmas in the center of the saffron flower. Each flower has only three threads which have to be harvested by hand and then dried. It takes thousands of flowers to yield even a pound of threads.
- Saute and Season
You’ll want to utilize a dutch oven or deep skillet with a lid for this step.
You’re going to saute the onions and celery in the melted butter or ghee and oil and then add all those good seasonings. Then you’ll cook everything up until it’s well combined and the veggies start to soften.
After adding the tomato paste and harissa, sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook for a bit before adding the chicken stock.
Then let it cook for a bit longer so the saucy broth thickens some.
After adding the chickpeas and chopped chicken, allow everything to simmer for about fifteen minutes and enjoy the delicious aroma that fills your kitchen.
This stew is best served right away with a dollop of pesto in each bowl. Enjoy!
While this stew is best eaten hot, it also makes great leftovers. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.
This dish is can be served with plain cooked couscous, but it’s great with rice as well.
Moroccan chicken with chickpeas will also pair well with a side of Chopped Veggie Salad with Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette or Israeli Couscous Salad.
Moroccan Chicken Stew
- ¼ teaspoon saffron threads (See Note 1)
- 1 large white onion sliced thin (See Note 2)
- 4 celery ribs chopped thin
- 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 2 tablespoon flour (or chickpea flour)
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 3 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (or 2-15 oz cans, drained)
- 1 ½ lbs chicken breast chopped (See Note 3)
- 4 tablespoon pesto
- In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of cold water and crush the saffron threads on top. Set aside to bloom.
- In a Dutch oven or deep skillet with lid, melt the butter and oil over medium high heat. When butter is melted add the onion, salt and cook for 4 minutes until softened. Add the celery, cumin, garlic powder and black pepper, stir to mix in, and continue cooking for another 6 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, harissa and saffron with water. Stir and cook another minute.
- Turn heat to low. Sprinkle flour over the onion mixture and stir. Saute for 2 minutes to cook flour then add the chicken stock and stir, sauce will thicken. Cook another 2 minutes.
- Add the drained chickpeas and chopped chicken, stir to mix thoroughly and cover with lid. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Divide into 4 bowls and top each with a tablespoon of pesto. Serve immediately.
- Crush the saffron threads between fingers or grind into a powder before adding to the water. Some people add to hot water, some to cold or even sprinkle on top of an ice cube and allow it to melt before using. Do whatever is your preference.
- Trim both ends from onion. Cut in half from root to tip and remove, discard skin. Place onion cut side down (with cut top and bottom vertical) and slice vertically across the grain, making thin, long strips.
- If using cooked and chopped rotisserie chicken, simmer 10 minutes to heat through.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.