Ras El-Hanout, Moroccan Spiced Chicken

Total Time
1hr 25mins
Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins

This recipe appeared in a local food magazine called MIX. It was simple to prepare, but wonderfully different. The spices blend together during cooking to make a wonderfully rich and deep flavor. The dutch oven cooking produces a tender, falling-off-the-bone chicken. This recipe would originally be prepared in an earthenware cooking vessel, called a Tagine, which has a conical lid. I'm sure most of us don't have one lurking in our cupboards, but the results from a Dutch Oven are wonderful. Served with some steamed rice, the little ones were asking for seconds and the adults were asking for thirds.


  1. To make the Ras al-hanout spice mixture: Combine the cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves in a small bowl.
  2. Thoroughly pat the chicken dry and dredge in the ras al-hanout spices until pieces are nicely covered but not over-loaded. Place in a bowl or large dish and scatter thyme and garlic over the chicken. Pour 1/2 C olive oil over and toss to coat thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight if possible, or several hours.
  3. Remove marinated chicken and place on counter for 30 minutes. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the dish, keeping the marinade, and brown chicken on all sides in the hot oil. (Do not rush this as the browning will help keep the chicken from feeling "dusty" from the spice mix covering it. This is also why you do not want to over-load the chicken with the spice mix.)
  4. Set the chicken aside and add the onion to the Dutch oven, cook until translucent.
  5. Return the chicken to the Dutch oven, adding the lemon and the reserved marinade. Sprinkle generously with salt. Add enough broth to almost cover the chicken, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the chicken has begun to pull away from the bones and is quite tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid the last 15 minutes of cooking time to reduce the broth. If it needs to reduce further, remove the chicken and boil the broth until nicely reduced to approximately 2 cups, but you can reduce it less if you want more sauce. You can thicken the sauce with cornstarch mixed with water.
  7. Serve with white rice or other grain of choice.
Most Helpful

I've made this dish several times but I changed a couple of things about the process. The technique for the marinade didn't make sense to me so I made it a wet marinade by combining the spices, about 2 tbsp of olive oil, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and the thyme. I then rub it under the skin of the chicken pieces and let them hang out overnight.<br/><br/>Then, with the onion, I include a cup or so of baby carrots and another 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. Also, instead of adding in a quartered lemon (as lemon cooked over a period of time can get bitter), I add in the zest of one lemon and a couple of sprigs of thyme with the broth and then finish the sauce with the juice of half of the lemon. Sometimes I will add a bit more Ras el Hanout if I think the sauce needs it.<br/><br/>I always get rave reviews from this dish, and I would highly recommend it.

Abby O. March 09, 2014

Really nice dish. I used a Ras El Hanout blend with Ingredients: Nutmeg, sea salt, black pepper, ginger, cardamom, mace, Chinese cinnamon, ground allspice, turmeric and saffron

MartzMimic June 09, 2013

My DH said this merits 5 stars since he ate any leftovers that there was SUPPOSE to be LOL I served it over a fruited couscous I concoted. I did not add much of the leftover marinade since it was just to much oil for me. I found the marinade even after sitting so long did not go thru the meat like I thought it would so am not sure if I should of used skinless meat or not , recipe does not state this. Made for Zaar CookBook Tag

wicked cook 46 February 01, 2009