I’ve made Moroccan Chicken for dinner guests more times than I can count (even more than my signature Eggplant Parmesan), but this is the first time I adjusted the recipe to be SIBO diet-friendly. The result was no less divine than the original.
This recipe is portioned to feed 4-6 (and/or have plenty left over for lunch or dinner the next day… it only gets better with time!).
Speaking of getting better with time, when possible, start this dish in the early afternoon, and where indicated in the instructions below, turn it off and allow to sit at room temperature until you’re ready to heat it up for dinner a couple hours later. It really does improve the flavor.
My favorite pan for this dish is my old Farberware electric skillet, because it maintains a nice low simmer that develops flavor without burning. However, if you plan to double (or triple) this recipe for a crowd, I highly recommend using a big cast iron dutch oven (with a lid)—this enhances flavors (of all food) more than any other pan I’ve used. Try an experiment some time: cook a slice of bacon in several different types of pans for a taste test…!
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, scraped of excess fat; cut in half if you’re going to cook in a frying pan, leave them whole (but flattened) if you’re using a dutch oven.
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground dried ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (black is okay too)
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, divided
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
1/3 cup dried papaya, diced*
1/2 tsp sumac
Pinch of saffron (the size of the pinch depends on the quality of your saffron)
2 TBL honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1-2 cups chicken broth, divided
1 – 14 ounce can of stewed diced tomatoes with their juice (I use a quart-size ziplock freezer bag of home-grown tomatoes frozen during the summer); or 4-5 medium tomatoes, diced (with juice).
Flat leaf parsley, chopped
In a small, deep bowl, combine the coconut flour, cinnamon, dried ginger, turmeric, amchoor, salt and pepper until well-mixed.
Pour enough olive oil into a large, heavy frying pan or electric skillet (or dutch oven with a lid if you’re doubling or tripling this recipe) to cover the bottom of the pan, and bring the oil to medium heat. (Pictured at left: making Moroccan chicken in my old Farberware electric skillet.)
(If you are doubling or tripling the batch and using a dutch oven, preheat your oven to 300°F.)
Toss each chicken piece in spiced coconut flour and place into the warmed skillet. Cook until both sides are golden brown, roughly 4-6 minutes per side.
Note: coconut flour browns very quickly. Keep your heat to medium (or medium low depending on your pan or stove).
If you need more oil to keep the pan from getting too dry, add it in small amounts along the side (so it warms up before reaching the chicken).
As the chicken is browning, strip the leaves off 1 sprig of rosemary and mince them (flowers are okay too if it’s that time of year).
Once all the chicken pieces are golden, remove them from the pan and set aside.
Pictured above: making Moroccan chicken in my stoneware non-stick pan
If the pan is dry, add a bit more olive oil. Then add any remaining spiced coconut flour, 1 cup of broth, the minced rosemary leaves, fresh ginger, papaya, sumac, saffron, and honey, stirring well for 1-2 minutes until everything is bubbling.
Add tomatoes (with their juices), stir well, and cook on medium heat for 2-3 more minutes.
Return chicken to the pan, turn it to coat with sauce, adding more broth if necessary to make sure the chicken is partially submerged (see photo above). Submerge cinnamon sticks in the liquid, top the chicken with remaining rosemary sprigs, cover the pan, and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.
OR… if you are doubling or tripling the batch by using a dutch oven, make sure the chicken is *mostly* submerged in the tomatoes / broth, cover the pot, and place into the oven for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Check the chicken occasionally, and add more broth if / as necessary to keep roughly 1/2″ of sauce / juices / gravy in the bottom of the pan at all times (if using a dutch oven for a larger batch, keep the chicken mostly submerged in sauce / juices).
Pictured above: making a tripled batch of Moroccan chicken in my cast iron dutch oven
Frying pan method: after 45 minutes, the chicken is ready to serve, but it will taste even better if you can turn off the heat, keep the skillet covered, and let the chicken rest in the pan with the sauce for a couple hours. Reheat if necessary just before serving.
Dutch oven method (doubled/tripled batch): after 2-1/2 to 3 hours, turn off the oven, and either serve immediately, or you can leave the covered dutch oven in the oven until ready to serve (a covered dutch oven should keep it plenty hot for up to 2 hours)—making this dish super easy to prepare for a larger dinner party.
When you’re ready to serve, garnish with slivered almonds and flat leaf parsley.
*Note about papaya: the origins of this recipe call for dried apricot instead of papaya. Dried apricot is not listed in the SIBO diet chart, but fresh apricot is listed in the “orange” zone, so I’ve assumed that dried apricot is equally or more risky and substituted papaya to stay in the “green” zone.
Side Dish Suggestions:
The sauce is so tasty, you’ll want something to soak it up: I recommend boiled and mashed rutabagas, or boiled and mashed yellow squash, or lightly steamed zucchini noodles. Add a cooked green vegetable, and dinner is done!