12 Day of Cooking Christmas: Moroccan Spiced Chicken

Today we offer a recipe for a wonderful main dish from Chef Jennifer Jones. This chicken is incredibly flavorful – and it will leave people asking where you learned to be such a great cook! If you haven’t taken one of our cooking classes yet, add it to your list for the new year!



4-6 Chicken Thighs, bone-in, skin on

1 1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 bunch of chopped cilantro

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tsp lemon zest

3 TBSP fresh lemon juice, from 1 to 2 lemons

5 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)

Salt and ground black pepper

1 TBSP olive oil

1 large onion, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 cups)

1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 TBSP honey

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise

1 cup green olives, pitted and halved

2 TBSPs chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Use a vegetable peeler to remove wide strips of peel from the lemon before juicing it. Make sure to trim any white pith from the zest, as it can impart bitter flavor. If the olives are particularly salty, give them a rinse.

Combine spices in small bowl and set aside. Mince 1 strip lemon zest; combine with 1 teaspoon minced garlic and mince together until reduced to fine paste; set aside.

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it begins to wave (before it begins to smoke). Brown chicken pieces skin side down in single layer until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken to brown on other side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer chicken to large plate; when cool enough to handle, peel off skin and discard. Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot.

Add onion and 2 remaining lemon zest strips to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions slightly transparent, yet still firm, 5 to 7 minutes (add 1 tablespoon chicken broth or white wine vinegar if pan begins to brown too quickly). Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly golden. Stir in broth, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Add honey. Add thighs. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add carrots and any juice from the plate to pot, arranging breast pieces in single layer on top of carrots. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and allow an additional 15-20 mins of stewing

Add chicken to serving dish (leaving juices in the pot), and loosely cover. Add olives to pot; increase heat to medium-high and simmer until liquid has thickened slightly and carrots are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic-zest mixture, cilantro, and lemon juice; stir to combine and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve immediately.

See a complete list of Hill Center Cooking Classes here!

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