OK, I admit, I have issues. One of them is a desire to own almost every kitchen gadget there is. For example, you can cook a perfectly good Moroccan chicken without owning a tagine oven, but somehow, I convinced myself that it is absolutely necessary to have it. The problem? My tagine oven turned out to be too small of a cooking vessel to cook the amount of chicken I wanted to. So I ended up using my old reliable cast-iron Dutch oven.

But it is not possible to live our daily lives without spices. Featuring Moroccan spice blend. May its smell transport you to western North Africa with its ancient cities, Sahara Desert, and epic mountains. 

Moroccan Chicken

Yields 4 servings


2 pounds chicken (~1 kilogram), cut into pieces, skin removed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil, divided

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cayenne (or more if desired)

Pinch of saffron (optional)

5 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup chopped apricots

¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

Zest and juice of one lemon


In a tagine oven or a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken into hot oil in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Brown chicken for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon oil to your cooking vessel. Add onion and cook it for about 1 minute, until softened. Add all the spices and mix well. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes, until spices are fragrant. Add garlic and cook stirring for about 1 minute. add the apricots and the olives. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.

Return the chicken with its juices to the cooking pan and stir well until chicken is well covered in onion-spice mixture. Add chicken broth and bring to boil.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150-degree Celsius). Cook chicken in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74-degree Celsius). Serve over couscous.   

Tagine Oven…. I just had to have it!