I’ve been planning on posting this Moroccan recipe for months now, but never got to it. We’re very busy writing our upcoming Kitchen Table Food cookbook, which will be full of recipes inspired by our lives in Berlin and Washington, DC. It will be published this fall in the Netherlands (and hopefully soon in de US and Germany as well)! Because of the book Morocco got shelved for a while, but today I finally share this recipe together with some pictures of mine.
Last fall, I visited Marrakech together with a bunch of friends. At the Souk I bought a big bag of Ras-El- Hanout, a complex spice blend that gives dishes a distinct Moroccan flavor in a flash. Almost every spice shop has its own ‘secret’ mixture. Mine is fairly spicy and contains lots of cardamom. Love it! Especially on busy weeknights I tend to grab this bag and prepare this super easy dish with chicken and chickpeas. No need to travel all the way to Morocco for this spice mix: most grocery stores in the US sell Ras-El-Hanout as well.
I’m not going to say this is an authentic Moroccan dish, because it isn’t. But it is quick and tasty. Do not use chicken breast. Besides being boring, they’re simply not fat enough to withstand the simmering. You’ll end up with a dry and tough piece of meat. Go for boneless chicken thighs instead and put your bikini diet aside for a day.
Main Course, Serves 4
Action Time: 25-30 minutes
1.5 lb /600-700 g boneless chicken thighs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 red pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp ras-el-hanout
1 14-oz can of chickpeas, drained
a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach or baby kale
a small handful of fresh cilantro
1 Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the chicken thighs until golden brown on both sides. No need to cook the chicken all the way through, as it will simmer in the sauce later on. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Add the garlic, onion, and pepper to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, ras-el-hanout and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Put chicken thighs into the sauce and add the chickpeas. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Remover the lid from the pan and if the sauce looks too thin, let it simmer for an additional couple of minutes. Add the spinach in batches and remove the pan from the heat as soon as the spinach has wilted. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with pita bread an a green salad.