This Moroccan chicken and green bean stew is the ultimate crowd pleaser. I know because I’ve been making variations of it for years. It’s great party food—it can be made in large quantities and reheated, yet it’s simple enough for a weeknight meal. I don’t believe I’ve ever served this dish without someone asking for the recipe. So, here it is. Time to share the love.
This recipe doesn’t stray too far from its roots. Just a few twists and tweaks here and there. There is the usual roundup of Moroccan spices such as ginger, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne and saffron. To bring in a hint of sweetness, I’ve added a small amount of pomegranate molasses. (You can also use honey). The chicken is browned to add depth of flavor. And, I’ve included some green beans to make sure my kids eat their vegetables. Really, beans braised in this flavorful broth are ‘the bomb’.
The real culinary awesomeness of this dish comes by way of the preserved lemons. They are at once salty, fragrant and sharp and underlying it all is a mellow sweetness. I admit I’m a preserved lemon addict. Many North African recipes would not be complete without them (including this one), but they aren’t limited to this cuisine. I’ve added them to salad dressing and my turkey meatballs with tahini would be a total bore with out them. I make my own and I promise one of these days I’ll post the recipe, but in the meantime click here if you’re keen to make a batch yourself. If you don’t have a month to wait until they are cured, go out and buy some. And don’t forget to bookmark this one, because I guarantee your friends will be asking you for the recipe.
Moroccan Chicken & Green Bean Stew with Green Olives & Preserved Lemons
You can purchase preserved lemons at Whole Foods Market and a well-stocked Middle Eastern grocery store. Serve with traditional couscous, Israeli couscous or rice.
- 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half, drumsticks, and/or thighs)
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 cinnamon sticks (or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- ¼ teaspoon saffron
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or 1 tablespoon honey
- ¾ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths.
- 1 cup Greek cracked green olives, rinsed, pitted, and halved
- 1 preserved lemon, flesh removed and skin diced or cut into thin strips
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the chicken on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the fat in the pot. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat left in the pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and spices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and pomegranate molasses (or honey), scraping up any browned bits.
- Nestle the chicken, along with any accumulated juices, into the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 20 minutes for the breasts (remove the breasts when they are done) and 45 minutes for the thighs and drumsticks. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish, tent loosely with foil, and let rest while finishing the sauce.
- Skim as much fat as possible off the surface of the sauce, add the green beans, olives and preserved lemons and return to a simmer until the sauce is thickened slightly and the green beans are tender, about 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot. Stir in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.