Moroccan Chicken Thighs with Olives


Happy Halloween, guys! Although, I am not a huge fan of the holiday, and I really do apologize for not posting more Halloween-inspired recipes, I can appreciate an insane amount of candy going into my belly. I think today being Halloween and all is a perfect excuse to over-indulge in sweet treats, and although I don’t have anything sweet for you guys today, I do have a scarily, spicy Moroccan chicken thigh recipe that you are just going to crazy over. It’s really that good. I think Zach’s exact words were: “Justine, I think these are the best chicken thighs you’ve ever made.” This means a lot coming from someone who I think is the pickiest person on the planet!


So, did I ever tell you guys that Zach HATES olives…like hates them with a passion. I’m sure we have been down this road before. We’ll just add this to the other things he happens not to love, like lemons for example. It’s all very interesting, since Zach’s mom’s side of the family is very Greek, and they love their olives and lemons. This makes me sad since I adore anything with olives and lemon.

For this recipe, I literally had to make two batches of sauce because even if I don’t serve Zach olives, he can still taste that they have been near his food. I’m dead serious. This is how much he hates them.

Well, moving along, to the specifics…this recipe is surprisingly easy for all of the bold flavors going on. It is sooo flavorful, and has just that hint of spiciness that you crave with a Moroccan dish.

These Moroccan chicken thighs start by browning heavily seasoned thighs in a large dutch oven. You make the sauce by combining some pretty fabulous ingredients: onion, ginger, garlic, and an abundance of spices. The chicken is then braised in the mixture with chicken broth and a good IPA. It’s finished off with olives and served on a bed of buttery couscous.

What more could you want?!

P.S. I added cornstarch to the recipe and I do this often when making sauces. I like this sauce on the thicker side, and if you would rather have it thinner, you may skip this step. It’s all based on personal preference.

Happy Halloween, guys! Have a great weekend and gear up because there are a ton of Thanksgiving recipes coming your way in the next two weeks! Woo!


Beer Love:

I knew exactly from the start what I wanted to pair with these Moroccan chicken thighs. They just scream “pair me with an IPA!” Seriously, they basically begged to be paired with an IPA. In this case, I also cooked with the IPA, adding it to the broth as the Moroccan chicken thighs braised. It was a great addition, and really toned down some of the heat. It was a fantastic pairing.

Here are some examples of IPAs I love for these Moroccan chicken thighs:

Maine Beer Company’s Lunch

Epic Brewing’s Escape to Colorado IPA

Pretty Things’ Meadowlark IPA

River North Brewery’s Hoppenberg

Bru Handbuilt Ales’ Citrum IPA


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Moroccan Chicken Thighs with Olives

Yields 4

20 minPrep Time

52 minCook Time

1 hr, 12 Total Time

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  • 2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs (4-5 thighs), skin on and bone in
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup beer (I used an IPA)
  • 3/4 cup green olives
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with 2 teaspoons of water
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked couscous
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. In a dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper and then place them skin side down in the preheated dutch oven. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook for 6-7 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Next, stir in the cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric and cayenne. Stir to evenly coat the onion. Add the chicken back to the pan, and toss so that the chicken is evenly coated with the mixture. Pour the chicken broth and beer into the pan, submerging the chicken so that 3/4 of the thighs are covered. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken, place on a plate and set aside. Increase the heat to medium-high for the sauce. Add the olives and stir in the cornstarch mixed with water. Cook for 10 minutes until the sauce is thickened.
  4. While your sauce is cooking and thickening, cook your couscous per manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Serve the dish by placing the chicken on top of a bed of couscous. Pour sauce over top and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Recipe Slightly Adapted from The Food 52 Cookbook by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs