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moroccan chicken pieces in skillet with potatoes
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4.78 from 18 votes

Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

Experience incredible aromas and juicy spiced Moroccan chicken with the most scrumptious sweet potato, prune, onion, garlic and apple medley ever. No special equipment needed.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
resting time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Moroccan
Servings (change as needed): 4
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 3.5 pound whole chicken, Note 1 or 4 pounds
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large lemon (for lemon juice, zest and wedges)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth plus 1/4 cup used later if desired

Vegetables and Fruit

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed about 1.5 lbs/680 grams total
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped or sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and cut in half
  • 12 prunes, cut in half (or 15 if small)
  • 1 apple, cored and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and black pepper

Seasoning mixture

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika sweet or smoked
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest from the lemon listed above
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper for mild heat (use 3/4 if you like spicier)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • PREHEAT OVEN TO 425F/218C. (Note 2 for slow cook method). Spray oven proof large skillet with oil. I use a 12 inch/30 cm cast iron skillet. If you don't have a skillet large enough or if you are doubling the recipe, use a roasting pan.
  • ADD VEGETABLES/FRUIT TO SKILLET: Place cut sweet potatoes, onions, apple, prunes and garlic in skillet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss. Create a space in center for chicken to sit in, moving vegetables and fruit to sides of skillet.
  • PREPARE CHICKEN: Mix all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside chicken cavity generously. Insert chunk of onion and wedge of lemon if desired. Rub seasoning over chicken including under the skin (gently separating skin from flesh on breast of chicken and legs if possible). Place chicken in center of skillet with vegetables surrounding it. Add 1/2 cup/118 ml broth on veggies/fruit.
  • ROAST CHICKEN: If using a temperature probe, poke it into chicken now. Place skillet into bottom third of oven. Roast for approximately 50-70 minutes depending on size of chicken. Instant thermometer should read 160F/71C. It will rise further with resting.
  • REST CHICKEN AND FINISH POTATOES: Tip chicken to empty juices into skillet. Transfer chicken to cutting board and loosely cover with foil to rest. Gently stir potato mixture and adjust seasoning if needed. Place skillet with potatoes back in oven for 15 minutes to brown while chicken is resting. Remove from oven.
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Add 1/4 cup/60 ml extra broth if you want potatoes to be saucier. Cut chicken into pieces. For a nice presentation (totally optional), lay pieces on potatoes. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over chicken and sprinkle lightly with salt. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro if desired. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Notes

  1. How to brine the chicken (optional). Brining will make the chicken juicier and more flavorful. Place 8 cups (2 liters) of room temperature in a large ziploc bag or pot. Add 8 tablespoons kosher salt - the ratio is 1 tablespoon salt to 1 cup/250 ml water. Throw in a couple garlic cloves, 8-10 peppercorns and some herbs if you like. Stir or squish until the salt dissolves. Add the chicken to the salted water (make sure the chicken breasts are completely submerged) and place in the fridge for 12-24 hours. Rinse and pat dry. The chicken will NOT be overly salty. 
  2. Alternative slow roast cooking method: Instead, you can cook chicken and potatoes at 300F if you prefer. This will take about 2 hours (plus or minus 10 minutes depending on size of chicken). Transfer chicken to cutting board to rest. Increase oven temperature to 450F and place skillet with potatoes back in oven to brown for 15 minutes. The chicken will be very juicy and the potatoes will be firmer (less mushy), but the skin on the chicken will not be crisp and cooking time will be doubled.  
  3. Substitutes and variations
    • Instead of prunes, use raisins, dates or dried apricots
    • Instead of apples, use 15 purple grapes
    • Instead of sweet potatoes, use halved baby white potatoes (but sweet potatoes are amazing in this recipe!)
    • Add-ins: a drizzle of honey and chopped nuts over the chicken before serving. Green olives.
  4. Make Ahead: Chicken and vegetables can be prepped several hours ahead or the night before. The entire recipe can be cooked ahead and kept warm, loosely covered, for up to an hour without cutting up the chicken. Cut chicken just before serving to preserve juiciness. 
 
Nutrition facts are estimates and include 1/4 of a whole chicken and sweet potato mixture (sweet potatoes, apple, onions, prunes).
Calories: 687kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 1345mg | Potassium: 982mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 10097IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 3mg