Are you one of those people who finds washing dishes therapeutic? These days I don’t mind so much but as a kid I absolutely hated it. My sister and I would always argue over whose turn it was to wash or dry, and it truly was the bane of our lives. I had no idea a family of four could go through so many dishes in a day. And how many pots and pans could be used to make a single meal?!
One of the reasons I started this Simple Dinners column is to share more recipes just like this and inspire you to maybe try something new for dinner this week.
Everything cooked in the one pot. Not too much washing up. Not too time consuming. Easy for weeknights. Maximum deliciousness.
This dish is actually the combination of two recipes I really like and make pretty often – a chunky chicken and vegetable soup with risoni and a Moroccan chicken stew that is usually served with cous cous. One night, I didn’t have the ingredients to make either recipe properly, but had the idea to merge them together. It was really delicious and I’ve been making it this way ever since.
The best thing is that it’s all very easy. You get a big return on investment in terms of comfort and deliciousness for just a small amount of effort. Throw a bunch of super flavourful things into your food processor to make a paste. If you have time, you can marinate your chicken for a few hours or overnight, but if we’re being honest, I always forget this step and it still tastes amazing.
Then you brown your lemons, and then the chicken, and add the flavour paste and everything else to the same pot for a nice simmer with the lid on. The risoni is added last to take on all those amazing flavours that have been developing. I like to serve it family style in the same pot it was cooked in with a scattering of fresh herbs and a green salad on the side and everyone can help themselves.
This dish truly does pack a punch with Moroccan flavours – saffron, turmeric, ras el hanout (a medley of North African spices) and preserved lemons, which I just love with chicken. The bold spices pair perfectly with green olives and the brightness of fresh lemons and herbs.
One Pot Moroccan Chicken
Adapted from this recipe
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup coriander
- 1/2 cup parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Thumb size piece of fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
- Thumb size piece of fresh turmeric (or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ras el hanout
- Salt & white pepper, to taste
- Olive oil
- 1 lemon, cut into thin slices
- 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 pieces preserved lemon, thinly sliced
- Splash of white wine, optional
- 2-3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup risoni
- Pitted green olives
- Fresh coriander and parsley, for garnish
To make the spice paste, place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined. If you have time, you can marinate the chicken thighs with the spice paste in a zip-lock bag in the fridge for up to 24 hours, but it is still delicious without this step.
Heat the olive oil in a large deep frypan. Add the lemon slices and cook until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken pieces (reserving the extra spice paste marinade if you did this step) and cook skin side down for about 5 minutes until browned. Turn the pieces over, Add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Add the fresh spice paste or reserved marinade, 1 cup chicken stock and the preserved lemons. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and cover with the lid to simmer for about 40 minutes.
Taste for seasoning now and add any extra salt, pepper and spices. Add the risoni, some extra stock, the olives and the grilled lemons and cover for a further 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is falling off the bone. Garnish with chopped coriander and parsley.