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Low Carb Moroccan Chicken Thighs without a Tagine

Low Carb Moroccan Chicken Thighs without a Tagine
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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”, but it’s quite simple to make in a dutch oven or large covered pot.

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

Moroccan Spices

The spice combinations are what really distinguish Moroccan dishes, turning ordinary dishes into something truly special.  

This “stew” includes harissa paste along with a range of Moroccan dry spices. Harissa includes a range of chile peppers, but the trio of ”cumin, coriander and caraway” spices are the traditional spice medley.  Instead of the paste you can purchase a powdered spice blend that includes dried chile peppers along with the spice trio.

If you are making your own spice blends, it does make a difference to buy the spices as whole seeds, give them a quick toast in a dry frying pan and then grind fresh in a coffee grinder. You will notice the difference.

One Pot Stews vs Layering

I have likened this low carb Moroccan stew 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.  Not the most appealing phrase, but it speaks to the ease of this dish.

If you are the type of cook that likes to spend some time bringing out the full 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

Similar Moroccan Dishes

Probably my favorite Moroccan recipe is a North African beef and sweet potato stew. That’s because I love anything with sweet potatoes however.

This North African Shakshouka (baked eggs) has become somewhat trendy as of late and you will find many versions of it on the internet.

Lastly this South African Bobotie (meat pie) is a recipe that is more unique and a little more complicated than a stew. I made it everyday for a week trying to get the recipe the way I wanted it. Needless to say my husband got pretty darn tired of ”that bobotie”.

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.
4.75 from 8 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 5
Calories 649



  • 2 ½ 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
  • ½ cup coarsley chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 onion coarsley chopped or 2 leeks, white part only, sliced
  • ¾ 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.
    2 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs and/or legs, salt & pepper, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp butter
  • 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.
    2 cups chicken stock, 2-3 Tbsp Harissa, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1 tsp turmeric, 1-2 fresh lemons, 8 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup coarsley chopped fennel bulb, 1 onion, 3/4 cup black olives, 1 inch ginger root, 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Just before taking the pot to the table, scatter the remaining mint leaves over the chicken.
    1 cup fresh mint leaves


Calories: 649kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 41gFat: 48gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 231mgSodium: 738mgPotassium: 803mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 785IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 4mg
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Monday 1st of February 2016

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

dorothy stainbrook

Tuesday 2nd of February 2016

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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