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Moroccan Braised Chicken Thighs with Saffron, Chickpeas and Dried Apricots

Serves: Makes 6 servings


  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed, and skin removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups ¼-inch-thick yellow onion wedges
  • 10 saffron threads
  • 1-½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup peeled, sliced (¼ inch) carrot
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth or water, plus more as needed
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 cup drained canned Italian plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 stems Italian parsley, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
  • 2 stems cilantro, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) dried apricot halves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint


Chicken, lemon and dried fruit are a classic combination for a Moroccan tagine-style dish, but it is the bouquet of spices —saffron, cumin, ginger, coriander and cinnamon—that make this dish memorable.

Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a piece of onion, increase the heat to medium, add the onion wedges, stirring, for 10 minutes, until they wilt and begin to turn color. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, stir together the saffron, cumin, ginger and coriander.

Add the chicken, carrot, and cinnamon to the onion, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, or until the meat begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, parsley and cilantro stems, the saffron mixture and apricots. Bring to a boil. Place the lid on the sauté pan, decrease the heat to medium-low and cook without disturbing the cover. Cook until chicken falls from the bone, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Uncover the sauté pan and use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken and vegetables to a plate. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in an oven set at 200°F. If there is excess broth, boil the liquid, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until reduced slightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and vegetables to the tagine. Stir in the preserved lemon.

Sprinkle the finely chopped parsley, cilantro, and mint over the top. Re-cover the sauté pan and carry it to the table. Uncover and serve.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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