Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas and Dried Apricots
The Mediterranean spice trio of cumin, coriander and cinnamon creates a deep and earthy flavor in dishes. Loaded with lean protein and vegetables, this dish needs only a side of couscous for soaking up the delicious sauce, and dinner is complete.
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 chicken, 4 to 5 lb. (2 to 2.5 kg), cut into 8 serving pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 can (14 1/2 oz./455 g) diced tomatoes
- 2 cans (15 oz./470 g each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g) dried apricots, halved
- 2 tsp. cider or sherry vinegar
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Working in batches as needed to avoid crowding, add the chicken to the hot pan, skin side down, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Do not wipe the pan clean and keep it over medium-high heat.
Add the onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until soft, about 1 minute. Stir in the cumin, coriander, cayenne and cinnamon stick and cook until the spices are fragrant and toasted, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes with their juices, the chickpeas and the broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stir in the apricots and return the chicken to the pan, nestling it in the sauce. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout (no pink should show when you cut in next to a bone, and the chicken juices should run clear), about 25 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.
Stir in the vinegar and cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Chicken Night, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014)