Moroccan Chicken with Tomatoes and Eggplant
with quinoa / yogurt
Braising (searing and then roasting in a closed pan) is a hands-off cooking technique that yields tender meat. For something different, we suggest trying this dish with chicken drumsticks, but boneless chicken thighs will cook in a shorter amount of time.
Smarts #1: Just about any spice blend will work here (though the final flavor will obviously be very different), so if you already have za’atar, Cajun blend, or even a BBQ rub, feel free to sub those for the ras el hanout.
Smarts #2: This recipe could be made in the Instant Pot. For tips, join the Cook Smarts Instant Pot Facebook Group.
- Coriander, ground - 1 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Cumin - 1/2 tsp
- Paprika - 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric, ground (opt) - 1/2 tsp
- Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp
- Cardamom, ground (opt) - 1/4 tsp
- Red pepper flakes - 1/4 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
- Onions, medium and red - 1/2, diced
- Ginger - 1 tsp, grated
- Ras El Hanout (ingredients listed separately) - 2 tsp + 2 tsp
- Chicken drumsticks - 4 (sub boneless chicken thighs)
- Eggplant - 1 lb, cubed (Japanese or Chinese eggplant if available)
- Mint - 6 leaves, thinly sliced
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
- Diced tomatoes, preferably petite-diced (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can
- Stock, any type - 1/4 cup
- Yogurt, plain or Greek - 1/2 cup, plus more for serving
- Quinoa, uncooked - 3/4 cup
- Stock, any type - 1 1/2 cups
- Quinoa - (Double if making Wednesday’s meal. If prepping right before cooking, get oven heating first.) Combine quinoa with stock (portion for quinoa) in a saucepan. Add some salt. Bring to a boil covered. Lower heat, keep covered, and cook until liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make ras el hanout - Combine coriander, salt, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Onions / Ginger - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Season chicken - Rub first portion of ras el hanout on all sides of chicken. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Eggplant / Mint - Prep as directed. (Note: You can peel the eggplant first or leave the peel on.)
- Heat oven to 425F / 218C.
- Heat an oven-safe Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat. Add first portion oil and then chicken. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Set chicken aside and return pan to heat.
- Add second portion of oil and then onions, ginger, and eggplant with a pinch of salt. Saute until vegetables are tender, ~7 minutes.
- Add second portion of ras el hanout and saute until fragrant, ~1 minute.
- Add tomatoes (including liquid) and stock (portion for chicken).
- Nestle chicken into vegetables and cover pan with a lid.
- Transfer to oven and roast, covered, until chicken is cooked through and registers 165 F / 74 C in the thickest part. (This should take 26 to 28 minutes for chicken drumsticks; 18 to 20 minutes for chicken thighs.)
- If cooking drumsticks, remove lid from the pan and continue cooking chicken, uncovered, for an additional 6 to 8 minutes to let the chicken drumstick skin get slightly crisp.
- If quinoa was made ahead, reheat in the microwave (reserve half if doubled).
- Serve chicken and vegetables over quinoa with yogurt and mint on top. Enjoy!
We missed this the first time around but we got an eggplant in our produce box and we had everything else in our pantry - perfect! Subbed sliced almonds for pine nuts but other than that no changes. So tasty!0 Helpful
Really good. It was fun to play with combination of spices I hadn't before. I opted to make basmati brown rice instead of Quinoa. I also used common eggplant from the supermarket. Opted out of the mint. Thumbs up0 Helpful
Great recipe. Omitted the mint (couldn’t justify the expense when I wouldn’t use it in anything else), added a splash of lemon juice on serving. Highly recommend adding the lemon juice, it brings great balance to the dish!0 Helpful
Loved this! Definitely adding to my regulars. Easy to make. I subbed thighs and am really glad I did! I had to use up 5 thighs and it easily stretched though I should have increased the ras el hanut. Next time I’ll add a few raisins to bring in a sweet flavor and pine nuts Or sliced almonds for texture.0 Helpful
This was so flavorful! Quinoa is not my favorite grain, so I’ll make this again but I’ll use rice or couscous instead.0 Helpful
Used chicken thighs in the instant pot. Doubled the seasoning and used the liquid after cooking the chicken for the grain (I used freekah, and it was very flavorful). While the freekah was in the IP I pan sautéed the onions/eggplant/ginger and then covered and simmered until the freekah was finished, about 12 minutes and that was the perfect amount of time to fully cook the eggplant through. The flavors went well together- don't skip the mint!0 Helpful