Incredibly aromatic Moroccan chicken stew with ras-el-hanout, olives, and tomato sauce, this dish can become a family favorite.
Moroccan chicken stew with olives and ras-el-hanout, there is so much flavor in this simple dish! A perfectly light and delicious meal, ready in about 30 minutes.
The recipe for this ras-el-hanout chicken stew was born from the need of using up some chicken breast scraps leftover after properly slicing the breasts to make stuffed rolls.
End of the story, those rolls, although very good, didn't make it on the blog, but this stew did. It was amazing! So much flavor! And those olives! Have a look at another olive stew with leek, it is delicious as well.
What is Ras-el-hanout?
One of the spices I used to make this dish is a North-African spice mixture called Ras-el-hanout. (Amazon affiliate link). The name of this spice mixture means translated from Arabic “head of the shop”, and that means again a mixture featuring the best spices that the shop has to offer.
Ras-el-hanout is usually associated with Moroccan cooking although many of the North-African countries use it in their cooking.
There are a lot of combinations out there, every shop and every family seems to have their own recipe for it. I have been using it in my cooking for many years and I really did notice myself that different brands of this spice taste different, some I liked more than the other.
The blend I happen to have now contains a special sort of pepper – piper cubeba and several other pepper sorts like long pepper, black pepper, monk's pepper. It also contains coriander, ginger, cumin, cardamom, fennel seeds, turmeric, nutmeg, galgant, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves.
How to use Ras-el-hanout?
I love to use it for soups, mostly autumn or winter soups, I feel that ras-el-hanout increases the comfort feeling this kind of dish already has. Try it in a pumpkin soup, any kind of dish using chickpeas or beans, beef soup, or a vegetarian kind.
Use it to rub chicken breasts or drumsticks with it (mixed with a little olive oil), sprinkle it on oven-roasted potatoes, pumpkin or sweet potatoes, add to sweet potato or chickpea salads or use small amounts to flavor hummus or other bread spreads. Experiment with it, I am sure you would like it.
When it comes to black olives, 95% of the time I buy and eat olives that still have their pit. I only buy pitted and filled olives, if I happen to want to decorate something with olive slices. (Amazon affiliate link)
If you ask me, there is no comparison between olives with their pit in and pitted olives. Pitted olives have lost most of their flavor, often have a squeaky consistency, I really see no point in eating them, they look like olives, but they don't taste like olives are supposed to taste.
I usually buy the vacuumed or canned black olives available in the Turkish/Middle Eastern stores. If you cannot get them, use another good brand of black olives that still have their pit in. Don't forget about the pits when eating the stew and warn the other people at the table about them as well.
How to serve?
- Typically with couscous, but bulgur is also fine. Crusty white bread or flatbread would be great as well.
- Otherwise, serve with boiled or mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta.
- We had a green salad with cucumbers and tomatoes dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar.
Reheat the stew
- This Moroccan chicken stew with olives keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- It can be easily reheated.
More chicken stews:
Moroccan Chicken Stew with Olives
- 500 g/ 1.1 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon ras-el-hanout
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 500 g/ 1.1 lbs pureed tomato not tomato paste
- 125 ml/ 4 fl.oz/ ½ cup chicken stock
- 20 black olives I had kalamata olives
- Cut the chicken breast into strips and set aside. Finely chop the onion.
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or another heavy bottom pan and cook the onion until translucent and soft, about 4-5 minutes, while stirring several times in between.
- Add the finely chopped garlic cloves, ras-el-hanout, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, and salt. Cook until fragrant, stirring, for 1 more minute.
- Add chicken and turn well to coat with the spice mixture.
- Add tomato puree and stock. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, uncovered.
- Add olives and continue cooking for another 3 – 4 minutes, without a lid, until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
- Adjust the taste with salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve as suggested above.