Savory spices and sweet apricots flavor this aromatic North African chicken stew. I serve it with roasted cauliflower (recipe coming soon) which works great for soaking up the sauce and is a low carb substitute for the rice that would normally accompany this dish. Add a green salad and you have a colorful, scrumptious, and healthful meal.
This recipe was loosely inspired by recipes from Epicurious, from my friends Skya and Traci of A Spoonful of Paradise, and other Moroccan tagine dishes. They all have similar traditional ingredients. What makes this one unique is the blending of the sauce. Most other recipes thicken the sauce by reducing it. The problem I found is that the sauce is the best part and I like a lot of it. So reducing it…well, gets you less. Blending gives you a nice thick sauce and plenty of it.
This dish goes together quickly, especially if you follow a few shortcuts: don’t peel the ginger (unless there are really dirty or scabby parts there’s no need); chop the shallots, ginger, and apricots in the food processor; and use an immersion blender instead of pouring and scraping hot sauce in and out of a blender.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons ghee or butter (may omit and use additional olive oil)
- 3 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped (1 cup) (I cut them in quarters and then pulse in the food processor)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped (I leave the peel on)
- 2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches long)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 12 skinless boneless chicken thighs
- .02 oz saffron threads (half a jar)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 12 dried Turkish apricots, chopped (I pulse them in a food processor)
- 1 Tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley or cilantro
- Heat oil and butter or ghee (if using) in a Dutch oven (large pot with a lid) over medium high heat. Add shallots and cook until softened. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon stick, and thyme and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
- Add chicken, saffron, and 1 teaspoon salt and turn chicken to coat with shallots and spices. Add broth, stir, and bring to a simmer, cover and cook at a bare simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add apricots, cover, and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Gently remove chicken pieces to a plate with a slotted spoon.
- Using an immersion blender, blend liquid in pot until fully pureed. (Alternatively you may blend in a blender and add sauce back into pot.) Add chicken to pot along with any juice that may have been thrown off. Stir and taste for salt. Serve immediately garnished with chopped parsley or cilantro.
- May be made 24 hours ahead of time and kept covered and chilled. Reheat on low.