Moroccan Chicken Baked in Red Sauce That Will Bring Your Taste Buds on a Flavoursome Journey
You have days that call for simple meals like a quick dairy free carbonara pasta. Then you have days where your taste buds demand a global culinary trip. Today is a day for the latter!
This absolutely delicious recipe by our Cosmic Cookware friend, Stacey Hatfield of Natural Spoonfuls (@naturalspoonfuls) was developed with just the right amount of spice to take you on a flavoursome trip through Morocco, right in the comforts of your home.
What makes this recipe amazing?
This recipe was inspired by the vibrant flavours and exotic spices of Morocco, so you can expect to enjoy the very same. It features tender chicken, a harmonious blend of Moroccan spices, and the comforting richness of passata for a symphony of flavours that will truly make your taste buds sing.
Even though the recipe calls for a mix of spices, this recipe is kid-friendly and also great for guests and family members who don't particularly enjoy spicy dishes.
All the ingredients are those you likely already have on hand so you can easily create a crowd pleaser that tastes amazing to impress your nearest and dearest. And did we mention that you’ll only need one pan? Say goodbye to the hassle of excess clean up!
But before we get to the recipe, let’s cover the basics to make sure we enjoy a tender and succulent dinner.
What temperature is best to bake chicken for this recipe?
Honestly, the thought of baking chicken used to send me to the hills. It’s so easy to have it end up dry and rubbery, especially when you’re trying to use less oil or butter for a healthier dish.
But the best thing about this Moroccan baked chicken recipe is how it uses a simple two-step approach which involves browning the chicken first, then popping it in the oven to cook the chicken legs to tender, flavoursome perfection.
For this recipe, the best temperature to bake your bone-in chicken legs is 180°C. You’ll start by preheating the oven to 180°C and you’ll want to keep it there to evenly bake the browned chicken legs low and slow without drying them out.
Should you bake the chicken covered or uncovered?
Ah, the age old debate on whether you should bake chicken covered or uncovered. While both ways have their pros and cons, I’d recommend baking this dish uncovered.
This allows the chicken to form a beautiful golden crust while the passata sauce slowly caramelizes for more intense flavours alongside the Moroccan spices. By leaving it uncovered, you’ll also ensure that excess moisture evaporates for a rich and concentrated sauce that perfectly coats the chicken and pairs deliciously well with quinoa.
After all, you wouldn’t want your delicious sauce to end up in a split, watery mess!
How long should the chicken be baked for?
This Moroccan baked chicken recipe calls for the meat to be baked for up to 25 minutes at 180°C. Do note that we’re using moderately sized chicken legs for this recipe (from an approximately 1.5kg chicken), so you may want to adjust the time taken to bake up to 35 minutes if you’re baking a larger chicken.
Another way to check, is to use a meat thermometer to measure the meat's internal temperature. When it reaches approximately 75°C, then the meat is juicily cooked and ready to be served!
Can I substitute chicken leg for chicken breast for this recipe?
Sure you can! That said, chicken breasts typically cook faster than chicken legs because of its leaner texture. Here’s how you can avoid overcooking it so you can still have your Moroccan baked chicken in its tender, juicy glory.
First, you’ll want to reduce the baking time by a bit. Check for chicken breasts’ doneness at about 15-20 minutes after placing it in the oven. Then use the meat thermometer and check if it reaches 75°C - indicating that it’s fully cooked.
One-Pan Moroccan Chicken Baked in Red Sauce
Explore the vibrant flavours and spices of Morocco with this easy recipe for Moroccan Chicken Baked in Red Sauce that you can bake using one-pan, or enjoy an elevated cooking experience with the non-stick Cosmo Pan!
- 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, diced
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- 2 Free-Range Chicken Maryland’s (or legs/4 chicken drumsticks/4 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin-on)
- 1/3 cup Chickpeas
- 1 Red Capsicum, diced
- 1 Zucchini, sliced
- 1 cup Passata
- 1⁄2 cup Vegetable Stock (or Bone Broth)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Coriander
- 1⁄2 tsp Turmeric
- 1⁄4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1 cup cooked Quinoa
- Fresh Mint Leaves
- Optional: Green Olives and 1 tsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Heat the olive oil in an oven safe sauté pan or casserole over the cooktop, then add in onion, garlic, and chicken. Cook the chicken until it has browned on each side. (I used the Cosmo Pan here so I can keep the oil use to a minimum thanks to its strong non-stick surface.)
- Combine passata, vegetable stock, salt, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, and black pepper in a small bowl to make the sauce.
- Add in your chickpeas, red capsicum, and zucchini into the pan, followed by the sauce. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and allow it to bake for 25 minutes.
- Serve the Moroccan chicken with a generous helping of sauce on a bed of quinoa and garnish with fresh mint leaves for a refreshing touch.
Optional: Add a drizzle of fresh lemon juice to give this recipe a super yummy pop of flavour and serve with a side of pipped green olives for a true Moroccan experience!