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Moroccan Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes

Cinnamon and ginger complement the sweet potatoes in this easy but exotic-tasting chicken stew. Fluffy couscous absorbs the aromatic sauce.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Moroccan Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes

Photography: José Manuel Picayo Rivera

Source: Everyday Food, October 2007


  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches long), peeled
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Pinch of saffron, (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup couscous
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)


  1. Place flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Season chicken with salt and pepper; dredge in flour, shaking off excess. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken, and cook until browned, 4 to 6 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.

  2. Add onion, ginger, and cinnamon to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Return chicken to pot. Add broth, sweet potatoes, and, if using, saffron. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and sweet potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard ginger and cinnamon. Stir in lemon juice, and season stew with salt and pepper.

  3. While stew is simmering, prepare couscous according to package instructions. Serve chicken stew with couscous, garnished with cilantro, if desired.

Reviews (28)

  • jewelkeller 3 Apr, 2014

    I am not sure why, but this recipe didn't impress me. I took suggestions from the comments about grating up ginger, adding cinnamon to the dredging flour, adding garlic and extra flour and a couple cloves. I also garnished with sliced almonds along with cilantro. It seemed to be lacking something. I thought perhaps a diced red bell pepper or two? Perhaps some coconut milk? And I agree, the thighs should be cut into smaller pieces in order to get them more tender with such a short stewing time.

  • girlwithcurlz 22 Sep, 2013

    I made this recipe as is w/o saffron and it was great! It definitely tasty and not at all bland. Will definitely make again!

  • KristinArnors 21 Oct, 2012

    I love this recipe, I've made it numerous times. I sometimes substitute fresh ginger and cinnamon sticks with ground ginger and ground cinnamon, it's just as good. I sometimes also add some garlic and an onion.

  • miss marple 12 Jul, 2012

    Doing some changes, this turned out to be absolutely delicious.
    I used mor ginger, ground cinnamon and turmeric instead of saffron. Additionally, I served low-fat joghurt seasoned with salt, Tabasco & mint leaves. This was a lovely contrast in terms of temperature and texture.
    Last but not least, I flavoured the couscous. Besides salt and some olive oil I added soaked raisins and apricots (dried).
    tip: Cut the chicken into very small pieces to achieve tenderness in the short amount of time.

  • denheels 21 Aug, 2011

    Loved it! I added garlic and took steps to make the ginger more intense. The only other thing I would change would be to make more couscous! Fantastic-- tastes like it was more complicated than it was. Will be making it again and again.

  • Hopeasilma7 13 May, 2011

    This is a wonderful recipe. I served it for dinner for some friends and they loved it! It is a comfort food and no, it is not bland. It is just right :) Tasty but not overly so. I highly recommend it!

  • stppzone 30 Jan, 2011

    i have subscribed to everyfood sense 07

  • belfant 12 Jan, 2011

    A great meal on a cold night. I added some dried apricots and plums, which give the
    stew a sweetness that reminds me of Moroccan tangines. Also added a bit of Spanish paprika to balance out the sweetness. I've made similar dishes in my pressure cooker which cuts on the cooking time, and concentrates the flavors. This will be a new staple in my repertoire.

  • margnik 15 Dec, 2010

    this is a amazing recipe, wonderful for the cold weather. really takes the chill off your bones and very quick to cook.. I did add minced ginger when the recipe called to discard the 2 inch ginger and cinnamon stick. very healthy comfort food..

  • CeciliaPrytko 17 Nov, 2010

    This is stick-to-your-ribs, perfect comfort food. I also found it bland. Next time I'll chop up the ginger. I also added garlic, salt and pepper and served it over orzo. Easy and quick to make. Dinner was ready in 30 min.

  • danavanhove 13 Aug, 2010

    I've made this one at least 5 times. Doing it again tonite. Not sure why some are reporting below that it's bland. A little tip: I keep my ginger in the freezer, lasts for months. When I want to use it, I just use it frozen on a fine cheese grater. Maybe that's why mine doesn't taste bland, b/c there's ginger thru out. And I don't skimp on the saffron. I like the 2 suggestions of the clove in the pot and cinnamon in the flour dredge. Will give both those a "go" tonite!

  • Amethyste 18 Jun, 2010

    I made this last night and we LOVED it. It's going to be a new staple recipe, as we usually have almost all the ingredients on hand. I took the advice of former posters and spiced it up a little. I grated the ginger, rather than just dumping a chunk in and removing it, and I added ground cinnamon to the dredging flour. I also added a whole clove for extra depth, since we didn't have saffron, and I used a vidalia onion. Made me look forward to having the leftovers for lunch today!

  • jaymo 14 Mar, 2010

    I thought this was bland. I added extra cinnamon and cumin to add something a bit more. I probably would not make this again. I've had real Moroccan food before and it's never this bland.

  • anna074 12 Mar, 2010

    Excellent! Followed it to a "T" and did not use the saffron. Very flavorful. It scared my 2 ^ 4 year old, so it was nuggets again for them....more for me and the hubby. It was super easy to make as well.

  • anna074 12 Mar, 2010

    Excellent! Followed it to a "T" and did not use the saffron. Very flavorful. It scared my 2 ^ 4 year old, so it was nuggets again for them....more for me and the hubby. It was super easy to make as well.

  • Eleanor7 18 Jan, 2010

    I made this last night, and it was delicious as promised. It took about the hour that it said it would, and the ingredients are fairly convenient. It really is easy and impressive with a mild, sweet taste. The flour on the chicken really adds the extra bit of texture it needs.

  • Krissywissy 14 Jan, 2010

    I am not good in the kitchen, I am frightened of most recipes but this is my very favorite that I use when I want to impress! I discovered it while living in Spain and have made it countless times since then. So delicious and so easy to make. Season to taste and don't be afraid to use powdered cinnamon either! I also add flour while the stew is simmering to make it extra thick.

  • CeciliaPrytko 14 Dec, 2009

    I made this tonight as, surprise, I had all the ingredients on hand! It was very tasty, even hubby, who does not care for couscous, liked it. My 2 yo loved it! I used chicken breast and used the shorter cooking times, accordingly. I also used a packet of saffron-flavored seasoning (from Goya) which I found in the ethnic aisle in my local grocer. I use it instead of saffron all the time and it is a decent substitute, more affordable and adds on a bit more flavor, as well. I will make this again!

  • mmsrjs 29 Jul, 2008

    well folks, I've read all the comments, and as usual some are pro and some are con. I will find out for myself. but without making it I agree about splurging and gettikng Saffron (it always makes things taste better). However I must find something on my diet that I can substitute for the sweet potatoes (which I hate anyway) I'm so glad so many of you have tried this meal and came back to comment. Thanks gals

  • sdarte5 25 Jun, 2008

    I was very excited about this recipe, but was sadly dissapointed. I didn't alter it at all, and it is very, very bland. The textures are very good though. Just be sure to kick up the spice!!!

  • HeartAuntBee 31 Mar, 2008

    I used this recipe more as a base to modify. I added apples and extra spice and it was delicious! I had initially intended to pair it with rice, but was so glad I went with the couscous. Perfect!

  • barthelfam 31 Jan, 2008

    This was great and so easy! I made coconut rice instead of couscous because the flavors go great together (jasmine rice with equal parts lite coconut milk

  • JenKing77 6 Dec, 2007

    This recipe is fabulous and has become a staple in our household. It's SO easy. I add a little cinnamin to the flour that you dredge the chicken in which adds a nice bit of flavor. I also use the already peeled and cubed sweet potatoes that you can find in the produce section. That makes it even easier. I like to serve it over Near East's Parmesean Couscous - Yummy!

  • marieott 5 Dec, 2007

    This recipe was excellent. I didn't have any regular couscous on hand so I substituted Isreali couscous. The heaver texture made the meal a little more substantial.

  • marieott 5 Dec, 2007

    This recipe was excellent. I didn't have any regular couscous on hand so I substituted Isreali couscous. The heaver texture made the meal a little more substantial.

  • dnasaint 27 Nov, 2007

    This is similar to a more complicated recipe I used to make. I add some golden raisins and slivered toasted almonds and the recipes taste exactly alike. We can't tell a difference (except in the cooking time and ingredient lists), and my 2-year-old loves it.

  • foodiefun 21 Nov, 2007

    This surpassed expectations. I highly recommend splurging and getting a little packet of saffron threads. I wish I had added more sweet potatoes than the recipe stated. They were so yummy. It didn't need the couscous. The sweet potatoes were starchy and filling enough. My 9 yr. old daughter loved ithe whole thing.

  • superkungfugirl 8 Nov, 2007

    This recipe was so much better than I could have expected! An exotic dish with amazing flavor, and not too rich. I'll be making this again soon! :)

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