Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chicken and Chickpea "Tagine"

I initially began reading blogs in 2009 when I was homesick while studying abroad in Madrid. Something about reading the goings on of people back home was comforting, and I was amazed at the communities that came together across the miles on the internet.  It took five years of lurking, but I am finally ready to become part of that community by starting my own food blog!  I love to cook, bake, and take on new challenges in the kitchen, and I am super excited to share my successes (and not so successes) with you.

In light of the fact that I initially dipped my toes into the online community during my time abroad, this recipe is the perfect fit to inaugurate my own little corner of the internet.  I visited Morocco that spring, and fell in love with the humble, hearty stews called tagines.  I wanted to recreate them upon my return to the States, but could never justify the expense or kitchen space to buy a tagine, the clay pot in which these stews are made.  When I came across this slow cooker variation, I was excited to recapture a less than authentic, but hopefully still delicious variation.

This recipe does require a little prep.  It is not a throw together in five minutes on your way out the door type of slow cooker recipe.  It took me about 30 minutes to get everything prepped and in the slow cooker.  However, seven hours later your house smells wonderful and you have a healthy, hearty, and comforting meal perfect for a winter night!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Chickpea "Tagine"

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1.25 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 c chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 whole cinnamon stick
3/4 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Season the meaty side of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then brown them meaty side down in the skillet for five minutes.  Do not brown the other side.  Remove and set aside.  There will be browned bits left in the pan, leave them for now.
2. Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the pan.  Saute for four minutes, or until soft.  Add cumin, paprika, ginger, and chili powder, then cook for one additional minute, stirring constantly.
3. Deglaze the pan by adding broth and scraping all the delicious browned bits that have stuck to the bottom.  Then, add 3/4 teaspoon of salt, the honey, and the cinnamon stick.  Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
4.  Place the onion mixture in the slow cooker, then add the chickpeas and apricots.  Place the chicken thighs, browned side up on top of the chickpeas so that they are sitting mostly out of the liquid.
5.  Cover and cook on low for seven hours.  Discard cinnamon stick and serve over brown rice.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Cooking Light, December 2012


  1. Kelly, I didn't have apricots, so added tiny tangerines at the end. I also used almost frozen chicken breasts instead of thighs ('cause that was what was on sale) and ended up with a lot of juice - wondering what you think of turning the leftovers into a soup by adding a can of roasted tomatoes.

    1. I think that sounds great! I suspect the extra liquid may have been due to using the frozen chicken breasts. They may have released liquid as they thawed. I bet the leftovers would make a great soup and cooking it on the stove top would allow it to reduce down and thicken a bit. Did you enjoy it otherwise?