Braised Moroccan Chicken Thighs

braised Moroccan chicken thighs and chickpeas served with couscous on a white plate.

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5 from 6 reviews

Braised Moroccan Chicken Thighs with Chickpeas is easy enough for a weeknight, but has the sophistication suitable for a weekend…and a good bottle of wine! The overall recipe adapted from Milk Street Magazine; the ras el hanout spice blend is adapted from Epicurious.



For the ras el hanout (if making your own)

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (or cayenne for more kick)
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)

For the chicken:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tsp ras el hanout, divided
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp, divided, pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam or spread
  • 15 1/2 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 cups baby spinach
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • cooked couscous for serving; or you can also serve with orzo or rice


  1. Make the spice blend (skip if you already have ras el hanout): combine the spices — cumin, ginger, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cayenne, allspice and optional cloves in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Prep the chicken: Pat dry the chicken thighs. Season by sprinkling a bit of salt and 1 teaspoon ras el hanout. Set aside.
  3. Brown the chicken: Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet or Copper Chef Pan on medium high. When hot, add the chicken cook for about two minutes until starting to brown on one side. Turn the chicken over to brown for a minute or two on the other side. After browning, remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add garlic to the same skillet or pan you used for the chicken, along with 2 tsps of the ras el hanout blend. Cook on medium for about a minute, until the garlic and spices become fragrant. Add the apricot jam, 2 tbsp of the pomegranate molasses, cooking wine and the chickpeas. Stir vigorously to scrape up and incorporate bits of chicken left from the browning and to prevent sticking.
  5. Braise the chicken: Place the chicken on top of the chickpea mixture, along with any juices that may have accumulated. Cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Stir once about halfway through the cooking, and add the baby spinach at this time. When the chicken is cooked through, use a slotted spoon to move it to a clean serving platter (i.e. not the one you used for the chicken after browning). 
  6. Make the sauce: After removing the cooked chicken, heat the remaining sauce on medium high heat a few minutes until it reduces slightly. Remove from heat, and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and remaining tbsp of pomegranate molasses. Pour sauce over chicken (see notes for kid serving tip). To serve, plate a bit of couscous, and scoop some chicken with sauce to serve over the couscous. Sprinkle a bit of cilantro for garnish. We recommend the dish with a good Pinot Noir from Oregon or Burgundy!


  • We make our own spice blend in this recipe, but you can purchase it already made. Here’s an Amazon link to purchase ras el hanout blend. 
  • If making your own ras el hanout, place any extra after making the recipe in a sealed glass container. I like to re-use empty spice bottles from the store for this purpose. Store in a dark cabinet, keeps for at least a month.
  • The quantities in the ras el hanout section of the recipe will make enough for this chicken plus a little bit extra. Double the quantities to have enough to ready to make another batch of this Moroccan chicken recipe!
  • Kid friendly tip: If you have kids (or grownups) that like things a bit more plain, give them a serving of the chicken before pouring the sauce over it. 
  • Lemon: 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice gives a pretty notable lemon flavor, if you are a moderate fan of lemon you could try just 1 tablespoon.
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