This stew is kind of like a tagine. Actually, this stew was supposed to be a tagine, but I realized that not only did I not have 3 hours to braise it, I also didn’t have the vessel in which it’s traditionally cooked. Feeling a bit panicked, I changed some of the seasonings, reduced the cook time to 45 minutes, used a stainless steel pan, and hoped that my brother would understand my decision to put meat and fruit in the same dish.
It turned out great in the end. This stew is aromatic and comforting, full of warm spices and an earthy sweetness that you don’t normally encounter in meat dishes (but trust me, it works!). The toasted pine nuts provide a nice crunch, while the apricots are chewy and soft. My brother, who I consider my toughest critic to please, ate a whole bowl of this with apparent gusto. I don’t know how else to impress upon you that this dish is delicious and you should make it.
If you’re feeling a bit lazy but still want to make a nice gesture for dinner, go with this. Once you get the stew in the oven and the rice on the stove, you can basically ignore it until it’s ready to eat. Then you can feed scraps to your dog and ignore your online classes, just like you want to.
Moroccan Chicken and Apricot Stew
- 2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup dried Turkish apricots quartered and tightly packed
- 1 yellow onion sliced crosswise into thin strips
- 4 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¾ tsp turmeric
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 3 ½ cups water
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley chopped
- Preheat the oven to 325º F. Salt the chicken on both sides and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan. Add the sliced apricots and cover with a lid. Let sit for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the chicken.
- Heat a generous dash of olive oil in an oven-safe pan with high sides (make sure you have a lid that fits this pan; you’ll need it later). Once hot, add the chicken, turn the heat to medium or medium-high, and brown the chicken on all sides, about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the browned chicken, plus any and all juices, to a separate dish. It should not be fully cooked at this point. In the same pan, add a touch more olive oil. Once hot, add the sliced onion and about ¼ tsp salt. Sauté until softened, a few minutes, scraping up the pan drippings from the chicken.
- Add the minced garlic and spices. Sauté a minute or two more. Add the chicken (along with the juices), chickpeas, and apricots and broth. Add salt and pepper to your preference. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, cover the pot carefully with aluminum foil, then secure the lid on top of the foil. This helps the juices boil off and drip back onto the food as it cooks. Braise in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the rice. Boil the water in a small pot. Once boiling, add a pinch of salt and the rice. Return to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and let simmer undisturbed for 15 minutes.
- To toast the pine nuts, heat them in a dry pan over high heat, stirring or shaking constantly. Remove from the heat once they turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them and don’t let them burn!
- Reserve a few tbsp of pine nuts for garnish, then stir the parsley and the rest of the pine nuts into the rice. When the stew is done, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve over the rice, garnished with extra parsley and the reserved pine nuts.