This low carb Moroccan chicken thighs dish packs a lot of complex flavor into a one-pot meal.  It is traditionally made in a specifically designed shallow clay cooking dish with a tall, conical lid, known as a “tagine”.  I don’t own this type of cooking vessel, so I make it in a dutch oven which melds the same complex, robust flavors.

Low carb Moroccan stew with chicken thighs
Low carb Moroccan stew with chicken thighs

What makes this dish Moroccan?

The spice combinations are what really distinguish the Moroccan dishes and can turn ordinary dishes into something truly special.  This “stew” includes harissa along with the range of Moroccan dry spices.  If you don’t have harissa, you could substitute in Sambal or another chili paste.

With respect to the spices, it does make a difference to buy the cumin as whole seeds, give them a quick toast in a dry frying pan and then grind fresh in a coffee grinder.  If that is too much to wrap your head around, just use the pre-ground spices from the supermarket, but try and get them as fresh as possible.  You will notice the difference.

I have likened this low carb Moroccan chicken thighs dish to a “dump” type of recipe where you just toss everything into a pot after the chicken is browned and turn on the heat for an hour.  This makes low carb Moroccan chicken stew dishes really quick and easy.  

If you are the type of cook that likes to spend some time bringing out the flavor of each ingredient you may want to layer the ingredients into the pot after browning or sauteing them. This layering approach takes a little longer, but it brings out the flavor of the individual spices more thoroughly

Other Moroccan Inspired Recipes

Low Carb Moroccan Chicken Thighs

Low carb Moroccan stew with chicken thighs
A robust stew made with chicken thighs, harissa and a range of Moroccan spices.
4.6 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 5
Calories 650
Author dorothy stainbrook



  • 2 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs and/or legs About 6 thighs
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2-3 Tbsp Harissa or other chile paste
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin toasted and freshly ground
  • 1 tsp turmeric optional
  • 1-2 fresh lemons cut into wedges
  • 8 garlic cloves slightly smashed
  • 1/2 cup coarsley chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 onion coarsley chopped or 2 leeks, white part only, sliced
  • 3/4 cup black olives
  • 1 inch ginger root grated
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves


  • Heat oil and butter in dutch oven (or large skillet). Salt and pepper chicken thighs and brown in the hot oil (skin side down). Remove chicken thighs and drain some of the oil out of the pot.
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients except mint into the pot and stir together thoroughly. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add back in the chicken. Tear up about 1/2 cup mint and add to the pot. Cover and simmer for about an hour.
  • Just before taking the pot to the table, scatter the remaining mint leaves over the chicken.


Calories: 650kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 41gFat: 48gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 231mgSodium: 739mgPotassium: 796mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 777IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 4mg
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  1. Melanie on February 1, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Making this now! Any idea on the serving size – protein count?

    • dorothy stainbrook on February 2, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Melanie! Re serving size, I make this for our family which is 4 people. I recently updated it to include the nutritional analysis. Thanks for asking!

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