I invite you to transport your taste buds to exotic Morocco with this savory Moroccan chicken and prunes dish.
With aromatic spices such as turmeric, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon, the succulent caramelized chicken recipe will mesmerize your taste by bursting with flavors.
This savory Moroccan chicken recipe is a creation of my friend Chef Eliane from Born to Taste in Amsterdam. She taught me how to prepare it, and I loved it so much that I had to purchase a tagine and recreate it in my kitchen for my family.
Moroccan cuisine is not complicated and uses relatively simple ingredients and equipment. The key is to slow cooking and lots of aromatics.
In this Article
- Morocco cuisine and its unique flavors.
- North African Spices and Herbs
- What is a Tagine?
- Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed to make this savory Moroccan chicken and prune tagine
- And for the couscous
- Finishing touches
- Equipment needed
- What do you serve with your chicken tagine?
- Cooking tips and step-by-step instructions to create this excellent chicken and prunes dish
- A quick note about the chicken
- Alternate Cooking Instructions for your chicken tagine
- Storage and reheating options
- If you enjoy this delicious Moroccan chicken recipe with prunes, look at my other recipes.
- Moroccan Style Chicken With Prunes
Morocco cuisine and its unique flavors.
North Africa is the home of the fantastic Moroccan stew known as a tagine.
The stew can be made with various meats and vegetables, but they always contain aromatic spices that linger in your kitchen and table.
One essential part of Morrocan cuisine is spices and spice mixtures.
Ten crucial spices are used over and over in Moroccan cooking and should always be on hand:
- Cinnamon, cumin, saffron, turmeric, ginger, black or white pepper, cayenne, sweet paprika, aniseed, and sesame seeds.
Spices used but much less frequently:
- Allspice, caraway, cardamom pods, cloves, coriander seeds, cubeb pepper, fenugreek, licorice, mace and nutmeg, nigella seeds, and gum arabic.
You will also find an abundance of with most dishes
- Lots of dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, and dates, are used in stews, and nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, and more.
- Fragrant waters such as orange flower water and rose water are commonly used, as well as olives and olive oils.
North African Spices and Herbs
Ras El Hanout
It seems to be the critical spice in Moroccan cuisine. An ancient mixture of many spices.
Full of character, reflecting centuries of trade, war, and diverse cultures. Ras el hanout brings together a synergy of fiery, aromatic, and warming spices simultaneously.
Most spice makers keep their treasured recipe to themselves. Each maker is as unique as the hand that prepares it.
Translated from Arabic as “head of the shop,” it is a complex medley of 30-40 different spices.
Outside of Morocco, it isn’t easy to make it as most seeds are not readily available. Please rely on your middle Eastern store to be able to purchase it.
Other uses: Used in most dishes and added to spice rubs, beef or lamb tagine, and couscous.
Herbs and honey
As herbs, cilantro, parsley, garlic, onion, bay leaves, and zaatar are used frequently and abundantly.
Last but not least, honey plays an essential role in cooking, from appetizers to meat preparation to desserts. The use is unlimited.
What is a Tagine?
Tagine refers to North African cookware with round low-rimmed earthenware bottom and a conical top.
The unique shape of a tagine is critical to the dish. The tall conical top sits snuggly on the broad, shallow base.
The two-part vessel was devised to condense steam back into moisture, enhancing the slow-cooking stewing by the water evaporated or reabsorbed by the poultry or vegetables you are cooking.
Both the top and bottom are equally heated and become a portable oven where your food continues to bake gently, preserving nutrition, color, and flavor.
In addition to making stews, a tagine is a beautiful tool for preparing rice and couscous.
You can use the base as a roasting dish without the conical top.
However you choose to use it, it is meant to go straight from the stove to the table.
Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed to make this savory Moroccan chicken and prune tagine
This is a quick introduction. Please read the recipe for complete instructions.
Do not let the list of ingredients intimidate you. As you look closer, you will see that they are primarily spices, which most pantries are stocked with, and very little chopping preparation is required.
Chicken thighs: skin on and bone in. They are the most flavorful and will be easily infused with all the flavor while slowly cooking.
Onion: Yellow onion and thinly sliced
Garlic: peeled and minced to add more flavor to your Moroccan chicken tagine.
Unsalted butter: gives you complete control of the overall flavor of your recipe, allowing the natural taste of your food to come through.
Turmeric, ground ginger, black pepper, and sea salt: The combination plays a significant role in this dish. Please do not skip any of them; they all play a vital role in the recipe’s success.
Ras El Hanout: A medley of seeds that have been crushed to create this full of flavor spice.
Cinnamon sticks: leave them whole. Tap them with the spine of your knife to dislodge the inside but do not break them. While cooking, they release their aroma.
Chicken stock: Sodium-free is always my choice not to alter your dish’s saltiness.
Bay leaves: When added to all cooking, they release this most aromatic fragrance to all your dishes.
Lemon: use the zest for the chicken and the juice for your couscous.
Cinnamon powder: added to the prunes. It is just amazing how fragrant it turns.
Prunes: pitted brings sweetness and balance to the ginger and turmeric. Used with Moroccan chicken as well as with couscous.
And for the couscous
Couscous: Super easy to make and the perfect partner for this chicken recipe.
Raisin: optional, and you can use any dried fruit you have on hand.
Almond slivers: slightly toasted, they bring a crunch to your dish.
Cilantro: Use as the finishing touch and add flavor to your dish.
I only recommend what I use and love.
Large bowl: required to mix all your spices with the chicken thighs.
Small saucepan: you can use this to caramelize the prunes and cook the couscous.
Serving platter: if you do not want to bring your tagine to the table, a decorative serving platter will uplift your table.
What do you serve with your chicken tagine?
Couscous, as per my recipe here for you, or warm flatbread to soak up the rich flavor broth of your stew.
My friend, Chef Eliane, suggested Tomato and za’atar salad.
Cooking tips and step-by-step instructions to create this excellent chicken and prunes dish
The recipe itself is straightforward, even though there are three parts to the cooking process.
Trust me, it will come together beautifully, and I will guide you thru it.
As with all cooking, have all your ingredients ready before cooking.
Start by marinating the chicken.
- Combine the turmeric, ground ginger, black pepper, and ras el hanout in a large bowl.
- Add the chicken and coat well.
- Set aside to let the flavor infuse your chicken.
While the chicken marinates, prepare the prunes.
- Place the sugar, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, and pitted prunes in a small saucepan.
- Cover with water and cook for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat. You do not want them to boil.
Bring out your tagine, and let’s start having fun.
- Place the bottom of our tagine over medium-high heat, warm the oil, and melt the butter.
- Once the butter no longer foams, add your onions and cook until translucent and soft.
- Add the garlic and still well.
- To not burn your onions, you need to move the onions out of the way when you introduce the chicken to the tagine, skin down. Season generously.
- Turn the chicken when touched; there is no resistance, and you can move it around.
- Your chicken thighs will become a beautiful golden, and caramelization has formed on the skin.
- Add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, chicken stock, and a quarter of the prune juice.
- Add the prunes, cover with the tagine top, and cook for another 20 minutes.
Toast your almond slivers.
While the aroma gets richer and your house smells fantastic, toast the almond sliver and set it aside.
This takes less than 10 minutes, so you want to base your timing on your chicken cooking. Although you can have the couscous lukewarm too, I prefer it warm.
- Chop the raising and prunes add them to the water, and bring to a boil.
- Add the couscous, and stir with a fork.
- Remove from the heat, cover, and leave it alone until time to serve.
Adding the final touches to your chicken
Remove from the heat and add the final touches with the toasted almonds, cilantro, and lemon zest to add texture and crunch to your dish.
Bring your tagine to the table and enjoy.
A quick note about the chicken
As you may have noticed by perusing tagine recipes, most recipes call for chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts.
The reason is that the chicken breasts cook too quickly and do not allow enough build-up for the complex flavors you would get with the thighs.
Alternate Cooking Instructions for your chicken tagine
You can make this in a Dutch oven if you don’t have a tajine.
Follow all the same steps using a dutch oven in place of the tagine. Do adjust your cooking time to about 2 hours on low-medium heat. Have a keen eye towards the end of cooking as the liquid reduces.
Storage and reheating options
You can store chicken leftovers in an air-tight glass container for a few days.
You can reheat it on the stovetop by adding a couple of tablespoons of chicken stock if you have no more juice left. Cover and let it warm up for 15 minutes over medium-low. Most of all, occasionally check so as not to let it burn.
The couscous will need some reviving by adding warm chicken stock and a tablespoon of butter. Warm up over medium-low heat until warm.
If you enjoy this delicious Moroccan chicken recipe with prunes, look at my other recipes.
I encourage you to try this delicious recipe in the comfort of your kitchen and let your taste buds transport you.
Equipment and ingredients needed to create this Moroccan chicken
Moroccan Style Chicken With Prunes
FOR THE CHICKEN
- 2 pound chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
- 2 onions, thinly sliced.
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1½ cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout
- zest of lemon
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 18 prunes
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tableapoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 4 prunes, chopped
- ¼ cup almond slivers
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
- In a large bowl, mix well turmeric, ground ginger, black pepper, and ras el hanout. Add the chicken thighs to the mix and rub all over the chicken.Let it rest for about 15 minutes for the flavors to set on the chicken.
- Meanwhile, prepare the prunes by placing the sugar, 1 cinnamon stick and cinnamon powder, and the pitted prunes in a saucepan.Add water just to cover the prunes and cook for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat. Set aside.
- In a tagine or large pot with a lid that seals well, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted and no more foam is left in the pot, add the onions and cook for about 4 minutes or until softened.
- Add the garlic and stir well.
- Make room by moving the onions on the side and add the chicken thighs skin side down, season well with salt, and cook for about 10 minutes, turning once and until the chicken has a nice caramelization.
- Add the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, chicken stock, half the prunes and ¼ of the prune’s juices to the chicken and cover. Cook for another 20 minutes.
- Toast the almond slivers and set aside.
- Prepare the couscous by bringing the water to a boil. Add the lemon juice, butter, raisins, prunes, and couscous. Stir, turn off the heat from underneath, cover, and set aside.
- Place the chicken stew on a serving platter, garnish with the toasted almond slivers, remaining prunes, and finely chopped cilantro, and lemon zest, and serve.
- Serve the couscous alongside, add some of the juices of the chicken around it.
Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.
Did you make this?
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