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Moroccan Chicken and Rice with Dates & Olives

  • Author: zenbelly
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: chicken


For the Chicken:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (use a microplane if you have one)
  • zest of one lemon (reserve the lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 large or 8 small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Or one chicken, cut into 8 pieces

For the Rice:

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or roughly chopped pistachios, or a combination
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear
  • 6 dates, pitted and diced
  • 1216 kalamata olives, pitted and diced
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth / stock
  • 1 good pinch saffron (optional)
  • lemon juice
  • preserved lemon, thinly sliced, or lemon zest
  • chopped parsley, mint, or a combination


  1. In a dish large enough to fit the chicken, mix together the minced garlic, lemon zest, sea salt, paprika, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and the olive oil. Add the chicken to the dish and rub all over with the spice paste. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. 
  3. In a large (10-inch) high sided skillet, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the nuts and cook, stirring often, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the oil in the pan.
  4. Raise the heat to medium and add the onion and salt. Sauté until golden brown and slightly softened, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes. 
  5. Add the cumin and the rice, stirring to get it coated with the oil and get a little toasty, about one minute.
  6. Add the dates, olives, broth and saffron, if using. Bring to a simmer. 
  7. Nestle in the chicken, so the skin is facing up and above the broth. 
  8. Carefully transfer to the preheated oven and roast for 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through to 165°F and the liquid has all been absorbed. 
  9. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then squeeze in the lemon juice, and garnish with the preserved lemon, toasted nuts and fresh herbs. 

Keywords: moroccan chicken and rice, one skillet chicken and rice