I would really love to visit the exotic beauty of Morocco someday. Immerse myself in their culture and indulge in flirtatious cuisine…with throw pillows, mood lighting, and maybe a belly dancer! Just sounds so whimsical and charming! That kind of culinary experience seems so far away when I’m tucked away in Boston. Instead, I made myself a dish with a blend of alluring and romantic Moroccan spices and flavors, so I may feel as if I’m within that exotic beauty. Cumin, cinnamon, ginger, apricots, tomato, and almond. Not only do the spices come together for an exotic deliciousness, but also a healthy and gorgeous meal!
Although I’m not a huge poultry fan, I found that chicken thighs are the best meat choice for this dish. Flavorful yet mild enough to let the spice aromas shine. They are so juicy and tender, which also make an excellent choice for a slow cooker meat. Chicken thighs are hands down the best part of the bird. I will roll my eyes if you’re a breast person.
Thighs can also contain more nutrients and minerals (especially from a pastured bird) than an equal amount of breasts. I know you’re not afraid of fat, so the higher fat content (albeit not significant) is all the more attractive to you, isn’t it? And a thigh cut is usually cheaper than breasts, so more bang for your buck! Thighs all the way, baby. And I am still talking about chicken.
Along with the Moroccan spices and apricot, almond butter is added to a tomato based broth. Almond butter is amazing for….everything. I simply cannot control myself when a jar of almond butter is within five feet. And I really should, because it makes a wonderful ingredient for sauces by introducing a sweet nutty balance. In this Moroccan dish, the addition of almond butter results in a rich and creamy seductive sauce with a slight kick.
A spice kick perfect for thighs.
- 1 14 oz can of Tomato Sauce
- ⅓ cup of Apricot Puree or Jam
- Juice of 1 small Lemon
- 1 teaspoon of Cumin
- 1 teaspoon of ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon of Salt
- ½ teaspoon of Sweet Paprika
- 4 lbs of Chicken Thighs
- 2 Yellow Onions, sliced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Grated Ginger
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- ⅓ cup of Almond Butter
- 1-2 cups of Water
- 3 Tablespoons of Cooking Fat (coconut oil, ghee, or lard)
- Combine the tomato sauce, apricot, lemon juice, cumin, ground ginger, salt, and paprika into a bowl and mix.
- Heat a frying pan to medium high and add 2 tablespoons of cooking fat.
- Pat dry the chicken and add to the pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Transfer the chicken into the crock pot.
- Add the onions, garlic, and ginger to the pan and cook until barely translucent (about 2 minutes), add more cooking fat if necessary. Transfer to the crock pot.
- Turn off the heat for the frying pan and add the sauce mixture to the frying pan, deglazing the brown bits.
- Mix in 1 cup of water and almond butter to the sauce.
- Pour the contents into the crock pot and add the cinnamon sticks.
- Add more water to barely cover the meat.
- Cover and cook on low for at least 6 hours.
- Apricot puree can be made easily by blending a bunch of ripe apricots. If they are not available fresh or frozen, some brands like Whole Food’s 365 offer jam without added sugars.
- I used boneless and skinless thighs for this recipe, but thighs with bone and skin will work just fine.
- In place of almond butter, you may use another nut butter or even tahini for a nut free version.