Moroccan Chicken & Lentils is a flavour packed, but simple stew. Tagine is another name for this dish. It's also the name of the cooking vessel that you use if you are cooking this in Morocco, or any North African country. I don't own a tagine. Which I hope to remedy soon. But, lacking a tagine, I'm cooking these chicken and lentils in a dutch oven.
A tagine is a two piece cooking vessel, with a wide, shallow base and a cone shaped lid. Traditional tagines were made from clay. The cone shape traps steam inside, and allows the ingredients to be basically slow cooked in steam. So really, do I need one? A dutch oven will do the same thing. But, a tagine is just so cool looking, right?. And I don't have one. Not having a kitchen gadget is crazy making for me. I love to try every method and gadget there is, so when I know I don't have one, I'm coveting. If you aren't familiar with tagine cookware, check it out on kitchn
But anyway, back to the dutch oven. This simple stew of chicken & lentils will make your mouth sing. The flavour of North Africa is delicious and unforgettable. Harrisa is the key spice blend in this dish, and you can usually find it in the store. Harissa is a blend of chilies, cumin, coriander, garlic, cinnamon, and turmeric. You can also find harissa in a paste form.
You only need one pot for this delicious dinner. Coconut milk is not a traditional ingredient. Usually, chicken stock is the liquid in this chicken and lentil dish, but I liked the idea of simmering the ingredients in coconut milk for the extra depth of flavour that totally complements the spices in this dish. You can change the coconut milk for chicken stock and this will be a little less rich, but just as good.
This beautifully flavoured chicken & lentil stew is simple to make and a delicious new way to put dinner on the table in one pot.
- 2 tbs peanut oil
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into quarters
- Salt & pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp harissa spice blend
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1 400 ml can light coconut milk
- 1 796 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 1 cinnamon stick*
- 1 small acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- In a dutch oven or large pot, heat oil over medium high.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper
- Add chicken to the pot, and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes
- Add onion and garlic, cooking until softened, about 2 minutes
- Stir in harissa spice, cumin, and tumeric. Cook, stirring, until fragrant.
- Stir in coconut milk, crushed tomatoes, cinnamon stick, lentils, and squash
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes, until lentils and squash are tender
- Remove cinnamon stick. Serve hot, garnished with mint
* You can substitute dried cinnamon for the cinnamon stick. Just add the dried cinnamon along with the other spices. * If you prefer to substitute chicken stock for the coconut milk, use 2 cups of chicken stock.