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Moroccan Spiced Chicken & Apricot Stew

I was as in the mood for a good chicken stew a few weeks ago, so searched my favorite cooking website and found this recipe. As usual, I made a few minor changes (they added flour to thicken the sauce in the end and I didn’t find this a necessary thing to do), but the end result was really spectacular. The whole family loved it.

Now the original recipe calls for it to be cooked in a slow cooker. I will definitely be bringing this recipe out to Jackson over Christmas and setting it to cook one day when I’m out skiing. However when I made it I chose to cook it in the oven at a very low oven (like 225o F) in a heavy stockpot with a tight-fitting lid. A word of caution – and I speak from experience here – this chicken gets fall-off-the-bone tender, so if you stir the stew too much when it’s cookings you’re going to end up with a bunch of small bones to pick out of your meal. You can eliminate this issue by either not stirring it as much as I did, or using boneless pieces of chicken, but the bones will add more flavor to the dish. It was meant to be cooked in a slow cooker, so I think the not-stirring option is probably the best one.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken & Apricot Stew

Original recipe by Cook’s Illustrated Cover and Bake. Revised by Crafty Farm Girl, 2010.
Serves 6.

Prunes or raisins can be substituted for the apricots. If you are unable to find hot paprika, substitute sweet paprika and add cayenne pepper to taste. Cooking on the high setting will yield tough, stringy meat. We recommend cooking chicken exclusively on the low setting. TIME: 4 to 5 hours on low


  • 12 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4-1/2 pounds), trimmed of excess fat. [I used a combination of thighs and breasts]
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 ½ teaspoons hot paprika
  • 8 ounces dried apricots (about 1 cup), chopped in half
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15-1/2 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Dry the chicken thoroughly with paper towels, then season generously withsalt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Carefully lay the chicken thighs into the skillet being careful not to overcrowd, skin-side down; cook until golden, about 6 minutes. Flip the chicken over and continue to cook until the second side is golden, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a slow cooker, or if you’re using the slow-cooking oven method I used, you can keep the chicken in the same heavy pot you browned it in. Using paper towels, remove and discard the browned chicken skin. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of the fat left in the skillet and return to medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the remaining chicken, transfer it to the slow cooker, and discard the skin.

Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of the fat left in the skillet and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, and paprika; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the apricots and the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.

Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker until the chicken is tender but not falling apart, about 1 hour longer. If you choose to use the oven method as I did, then place the chicken back into the mixture, put a tight-fitting lid on the stockpot and place into a 225o F oven for about an hour, until chicken is tender but not falling apart.

Transfer the chicken to a carving board and tent loosely with foil to keep warm. Discard the cinnamon stick. Set the slow cooker to high. Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and allow to heat through before serving.

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