Craving comfort? These spiced and braised thighs will do the trick. Braising chicken thighs is an easy way to get a warming, flavorful meal without the time involved to slow-cook stew meat. Dark chicken meat is inherently flavorful – and forgiving – and happy to mingle with stock, tomatoes, and a heady smear of spices without compromising the meat’s flavor or drying out. The Moroccan-inspired spice paste in this recipe is crucial to the flavor of the chicken, which is braised in a sweet and spicy slick of onions and tomato. While you can easily prepare this meal in one hour, you can also take the time to let the chicken marinate in the fragrant spice rub for several hours or even overnight. It’s worth it.
Braised Moroccan Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes, Ginger, and Honey
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, plus optional marinating time
Serves: 4 to 6
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 (28-ounce) can crushed Italian plum tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1 (6-inch) cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon honey or light brown sugar
2 teaspoons harissa paste (or red chili sauce, such as Sambal Olek)
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Chopped fresh Italian parsley or cilantro for garnish
1. In a small bowl, combine the paste ingredients. Rub the paste all over the chicken and between the skin and flesh. (The chicken can marinate for up to 24 hours. If not proceeding with cooking, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before proceeding.)
2. Heat the oil in a casserole or braising dish. In batches, arrange the chicken, skin-side down, in the skillet without overcrowding. Brown the skin and then flip the chicken and briefly cook until the meat takes on color, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Heat the oven to 350°F.
4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet (if skillet is dry, add 1 tablespoon olive oil). Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, cinnamon stick, brown sugar, harissa, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, and then taste for seasoning.
5. Return the chicken to the pan and nestle into the sauce, skin-side up, without submerging the skin. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.