Set it and Forget it – Easy Chicken Dinner Party or Weeknight Wow

Let’s face it. We all want to enjoy restaurant-quality food at home, without spending hours in the kitchen. Have you discovered the beauty of the Moroccan Tagine? Savoury-sweet flavours meld together for hours on the stove while you enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail and catch up with your guests or relax a bit before dinner. This delicious and healthy dish is easy to make and serve. Bonus: the leftovers (if there are any) taste even better the next day!


Moroccan Spiced Chicken with Shallots and Medjool Dates

6 bone-in chicken thighs (either whole or cut in half)

¼ cup (60 mL) tomato paste

¼ cup (60 mL) avocado oil

9 large shallots, halved

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice

4 tbsp (60 mL) Ras el Hanout

2 tbsp (30 mL) smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

1 ¾ cup (425 mL) chicken stock

1 cup (250 mL) red wine or water

3 sprigs fresh thyme

9 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

1 ½ cups couscous, cooked according to package directions
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

1 shallot, thinly sliced

In a large airtight container, combine chicken with tomato paste, avocado oil, shallots, garlic, lemon juice, spices and salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.

When ready to cook, bring a large, heavy pot (cast iron works well) to medium-high heat, sear chicken until browned then add marinade, stock and wine or water.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and add thyme. Cover and simmer gently for 2- 3 hours. Add in Medjool dates and cook for a few minutes more.

Serve over couscous, garnished with cilantro and shallot slices.


Ras el Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend that has many variations, but often contains allspice, cardamom, cinnamon cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, and turmeric. It’s sold in the spice aisle, and you can use it in many different dishes.

If you find after serving that you have excess liquid left over, store it in the refrigerator, and it will make a great soup base for the next day!

Serves 6


BONUS recipe: These Medjool Date Chocolate Tahini Bites are the perfect dessert pairing with the Moroccan Chicken, delivering a satisfying end to your meal that’s not overly sweet. They also make a great snack!

Medjool Date Chocolate Tahini Bites

12 Pitted Medjool Dates

1 tbsp (15 mL) cacao powder

¼ cup (60 mL) tahini

½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla bean paste

¼ cup (60 mL) rolled oats

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

2 tbsp (30 mL) coconut oil

1 cup (250 mL) shredded coconut

Combine Medjool dates, cacao powder, tahini, vanilla paste, rolled oats, salt and coconut oil in a food processor and pulse until mixture is a dough-like consistency and holds together well. Add a little water if the mixture seems too dry or add oats if the mixture seems to wet to roll into balls.

Roll mixture into small balls, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) each then roll each ball in shredded coconut and place onto a parchment lined sheet. Place into refrigerator and, once chilled, transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for two weeks.

Medjool dates are a pure and wholesome superfood picked straight off the tree at the peak of ripeness. Plump and naturally sweet, the only things added are sunshine and water. Grown at the intersection of California and Arizona, a perfect microclimate along the Colorado River, Natural Delights Medjool Dates are a nourishing portable snack that provides long-lasting energy, and is full of antioxidants, potassium, and fibre.

They are also a nutritious and natural replacement for processed sugar in baking. While Medjool dates are high in natural sugars, they are low on the glycemic index thanks to a balanced amount of soluble fibre. The complex carbohydrates found in Medjool dates are digested at a slower rate, making them a source of dietary fibre and releasing energy to the body over a longer period of time.

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