Also, my recipe calls pomegranate seeds, which give the dish a nice pop of tart flavor. However, if you don’t have pomegranate seeds, you can use chopped green or kalamata olives instead. Of course, you can leave out the pomegranate seeds or olives, and the recipe still will be delicious.
The spice mixture is the star of the recipe. However, a few of the spices might be unfamiliar to you. So, let me briefly explain a little bit about these spices.
Turmeric is typically used as a powder in recipes and has a strong earthy aroma and a slightly bitter flavor. It is popular as a health supplement for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Smoked paprika is made from smoked pimento peppers that are dried and ground into a powder. It has a strong smoky quality but usually very mild and sometimes sweet. It is loaded with vitamin A and rich in antioxidants.
Cayenne pepper is made from dried cayenne chili peppers that are dried and ground into a powder. It is intensely hot and should be used sparingly when cooking if you do not like spicy food. You can omit it completely from this recipe if you want.
Cumin powder is a finely ground seed that has a slight nutty and earthy flavor. Cumin is thought to have several health benefits, including aid in digestion.
This recipe can easily be modified to suit any cuts of chicken that you already have in your refrigerator or freezer.
If you don’t have whole chicken legs, you can easily use an equal amount of bone-in, skin-on thighs, and drumsticks.
Don’t have both? You can use just an equal amount of just bone-in, skin-on thighs or just drumsticks.
Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts can also be used instead of chicken legs.
However, since chicken breasts do not have as much fat as chicken legs, you’ll need to make sure that you do not overcook them, which causes the meat to become too dry. Start checking for doneness about 25 to 30 minutes into the cook time.
If you only have boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, you can still use them in the recipe with a few cooking modifications. However, the recipe won’t be as wonderfully flavorful without the chicken skin, but it will still be delicious!
Boneless chicken breasts and thighs cook faster than bone-in. So, it’s best to start checking for doneness about 15 to 20 minutes into the cook time. If the chicken does not have an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C), cover the pan with foil and continue to check every 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Crispy, flavorful one-pan Moroccan chicken that is delicious on its own or with a few sides.
For the chicken: 4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick) (2 lbs or 1 kg)
1/2 medium red onion (2 oz or 55 g), thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 lemon, halved
1 Tablespoon of pomegranate seeds (11 g), for garnish
1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro (1 g), for garnish
Olive oil, for drizzling
For the dry rub: 2 teaspoons of turmeric (4 g) 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika (2 g) 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (2 g) (or to taste, optional) 1 teaspoon of cumin powder (2 g) 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder (1 g) 1/2 teaspoon of salt (2 g) 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (1 g)
Mix the ingredients for the dry rub in a small bowl. Rub over the chicken legs and place in a 9-inch x13-inch (23 cm x 33 cm) casserole. Nestle the onion and garlic around the chicken legs. Cover the casserole dish and refrigerate for at least one hour.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).
Uncover the chicken and squeeze the juice of half a lemon and drizzle olive oil over the chicken.
Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the chicken legs are golden and cooked through with an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C).
Remove the dish from the oven and squeeze the remaining lemon over the chicken. Garnish the dish with pomegranate seeds and chopped fresh cilantro before serving.
All nutritional data are estimated and based on per serving amounts.
Louise holds a Bachelors and Masters in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University (UK). She attended Columbia University for her JD and practiced law at Debevoise & Plimpton before co-founding Louise's Foods, Paleo Living Magazine, Nourishing Brands, & CoBionic. Louise has considerable research experience but enjoys creating products and articles that help move people just a little bit closer toward a healthy life they love. You can find her on Facebook or LinkedIn.