Moroccan-Style Chicken Stew with Quinoa

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Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Fragrant with spices, this Moroccan stew can easily be varied by using whatever vegetables are freshest at your market. Here we’ve used sweet potatoes, rutabagas, carrots and cauliflower for a variety of colors and textures, but the stew would also be delicious made with parsnips and turnips, especially in winter, when these hearty and inexpensive root vegetables reach their peak. This is one of many healthy, budget-friendly recipes taught in the Cooking Matters classes organized by 18 Reasons, a San Francisco cooking school that helps low-income families learn about grocery shopping and cooking.


For the stew:

  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups (10 oz./310 g) coarsely chopped peeled sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) coarsely chopped peeled rutabagas
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) baby carrots, halved lengthwise if large
  • 2 cups (10 oz./310 g) cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) dried currants or golden raisins
  • 1 cup (6 oz./185 g) drained canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) fresh or thawed frozen peas

For the quinoa:

  • 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) quinoa
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric (optional)
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) water

  • Pitted and sliced green olives for garnish
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Harissa for serving (optional)


Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chicken and sear, turning once, until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the curry powder, cumin and cinnamon stick and stir for 30 seconds. Add the sweet potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, cauliflower, broth and currants, and season with salt. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and return the chicken to the pot with any accumulated juices from the plate. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the flavors are blended, 25 to 35 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Stir in the peas and cook just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if desired.

While the chicken is cooking, make the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa and drain. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, salt and turmeric and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Add the water, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

To serve, spoon the quinoa into individual bowls and top with the stew. Garnish with cilantro and olives, and serve. Serves 6.

Recipe courtesy of 18 Reasons’ Cooking Matters, San Francisco, CA

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