I love my slow cooker. I didn’t own one for years–probably because it seemed a little old-fashioned, and probably because I’m not great at planning ahead for meals (which the slow cooker pretty much requires)–but I’ve been making up for lost time by using mine at least once a week for the last few months. Up until now I’ve used the slow cooker primarily for soups and stews, along with the occasional brisket. Then, a few days ago, I came across a recipe for Moroccan Chicken and Vegetables. Not chicken and vegetable soup, but chicken, and vegetables. I really love Moroccan spices (like the combination in this recipe for Moroccan Beef Stew), so I decided to give it a try–with a few Foodie modifications, of course.
Although I usually cook with chicken breast, I decided to use chicken thighs in this recipe–dark meat has more moisture than white, and moisture is always a plus when you’re cooking low and slow. I bought bone-in chicken thighs with skin, because they’re the cheapest option, and just pulled the skin off before seasoning them. (Don’t worry, it’s easy.) Once the chicken is cooked, it falls right off the bone with minimal effort. Even the Foodie children, who are bone-averse when it comes to meat, didn’t seem to mind too much.
What makes this recipe really easy is that the seasoning eases its way into the vegetables via the chicken, no stirring required. Layer in the vegetables, add the chicken to the top of the pot, and you’re done. Four hours later, magically, dinner is served–but not before your house begins to smell like a spice-scented wonderland of food. I made a pot of rice to eat as a side dish and used the vegetable mixture as a sauce. You could make couscous instead–the more traditional Moroccan choice–but rice allowed me to keep dinner gluten-free.
The Boy wasn’t so sure about this recipe, although he admitted that it smelled pretty good. And he did eat everything on his plate, even if it wasn’t his most favorite thing. The Girl suggested that it could be a little less sweet and a little more savory, so I might cut back on the dried apricots the next time I make this. And there will be a next time, because The Hubs and I were wild about this stuff.
Even if you, like The Boy, aren’t so sure about this combination of flavors, give it a try. The prep time is minimal, and your house will smell amazing. That in itself makes this recipe worth a shot.
Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken and Vegetables
2 cups diced butternut squash
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
In a large slow cooker, layer in the squash, tomatoes, onion, garlic, chickpeas, and apricots. Pour the chicken broth over everything.
Combine the coriander, cumin, sea salt, and paprika n a large, shallow bowl. Press both sides of the chicken thighs into the spice mixture, making sure the spices stick to the chicken. Set the chicken on top of the vegetable mixture.
Cover and cook for 4 hours on the high setting or 6 to 8 hours on the low setting. Serve with rice or couscous, using the vegetable mixture as a sauce.