Slow Braised Moroccan Chicken with Winter Squash

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Skill Level
Preparation Time 15 minutes Total Time 170 minutes
Servings 6 Cost Per Serving  $1.95
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Image of Moroccan chicken with winter squash.


6Chicken Thighs, skinless and boneless
2 cupsAny Winter Squash (butternut, kabocha, acorn etc.), diced
1/2 cupDried French Lentils (or 1 19oz can of French Lentils, drained and rinsed)
1 (14 oz)Can Diced Tomatoes
1 cup Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock or Water
1Medium Onions
2 clovesGarlic, crushed
1 tspGround Cumin, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove OR 1 tbsp of Ras El Hanout*
1/4 cupParsley or Cilantro, roughly chopped
2Bay Leaves
3 sprigsThyme
1 tbspGrape Seed Oil
To tasteSea Salt and Black Pepper

*Ras El Hanout is a popular Moroccan spice blend. Translated to “head of the shop”, traditionally ras el hanout would be a blend of the best spices from the shop keep. Some of the more popular spices included are, cardamom, cumin, ginger, clove, coriander, nutmeg, peppercorn, turmeric, star anise and mace.


  1. ​Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. This dish is traditionally cooked in a tagine. If you do not have a tagine, use a large Dutch oven or sauce pot. Place over medium high heat and add the grape seed oil. 
  3. Gently add the chicken thighs and sear each side for about 2 minutes, until you get a nice golden brown crust.
  4. Tie your lemon peel, bay leaf and thyme sprigs together with butcher’s twine for easy location and removal afterwards.
  5. Add all your remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  6. Place a lid on top and reduce the heat to low, cook for 1 1/2 hours. Or put into the preheated oven. Bake for 2 hours.
  7. After 2 hours, remove the chicken thighs, shred with a fork and return to the pot. Season to taste.
  8. Serve on its own or with some couscous.


  • ​Braising poultry over several hours helps to make it less tough, and cooking in a liquid adds extra moisture. Using chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts provides some extra fat to help soften the chicken during cooking, leading to a smoother texture. These techniques can be very helpful because after radiation or some surgeries to the head and neck, you may produce less or thicker saliva than you did before treatment. As a result, foods like meat and poultry may be difficult to swallow. This can be a problem because poultry and meat are excellent sources of protein. Protein is especially important when you are healing from surgery or radiation, or have a low appetite due to chemotherapy.
  • Tomatoes and tomato sauce may be too acidic for some people, but have you tried small amounts of tomatoes as part of a recipe? The squash and lentils help to balance the acidity of the tomatoes so it may be easier to tolerate them. Start with small amounts and use fresh tomatoes when in season. You can also omit the tomatoes and cloves if your mouth is sore.
  • Using lemon zest rather than lemon juice delivers refreshing citrus flavour without the acidity. This is especially helpful for people with sore mouths.