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This Moroccan Lemon Chicken Recipe is a staple in my family. If you’re just visiting my blog for the first time you may not know that I was born in Morocco. I felt it was only natural that I learn to make at least one authentic Moroccan dish and I knew I wanted to make Moroccan lemon chicken. This Moroccan Lemon chicken is gluten-free, low-carb, keto, and paleo friendly.
I remember having this when I went to visit my aunt in Virginia Beach and it was delicious. I experimented with the recipe several times and added in my own touches until it was perfect. This is as authentic as it gets and full of flavor.
This recipe includes both Instant Pot and Slow Cookers instructions. My aunt always made this in a crockpot but many Moroccan dishes are traditionally cooked in pressure cookers as a way to get that same tenderness you would from cooking for several hours in a tajine. You can think of a tajine as almost a dutch oven.
In order to make this Moroccan Lemon Chicken recipe truly authentic you’ll want to use preserved lemons.
Preserved Lemons are lemons that are jarred in brine and used in many Moroccan recipes. Preserving your lemons allows you to eat the entire lemon in your dishes, including the rind, without any bitter taste. I like to make this recipe in the morning and then by the time I get home it’s perfect.
Moroccan Lemon Chicken Recipe Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
- 1 package Chicken Thighs skinless and cubed
- 1 tbsp ginger use only fresh grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- ½ cup sweet onion finely chopped
- 1 tbsp flour or cornstarch if you're gluten free
- ½ cup peas frozen organic
- 1 lb Carrots 6 medium to large carrots cut in half
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- ¼ tsp olive oil a light spray
- 1 large Lemon juiced
- 1 tsp Salt I prefer Himalayan Pink Salt for its mineral content, read more about the benefits here.
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Cinammon
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Tumeric
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- .8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 cup Chicken stock I like Trader Joe's organic stock
- ¼ whole preserved lemon 2 slices diced small
- ½ cups large green olives sliced in half
- ⅛ cup cilantro for garnish
- First, remove excess fat from chicken thighs. Then, in a large bowl add the chicken, spices, grated ginger, garlic, lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.
- Take out your slow cooker and add the carrots, then top with the chicken.
- Then add the onions,peas (if fresh, if frozen add at the end), broth and set the crock pot on low heat for 6-7 hours (never lift the lid).
- 10 minutes before it's finished you can start your couscous. If you are making rice start 30 minutes before its finished. For low carb, keto, and gluten-free diets omit carbs.
- 10 minutes before the dish is finished, remove 1/2 cup of broth and whisk in 1 tbsp flour or corn starch, then add back to the crockpot to thicken the sauce.
- Then also add the Olives, Peas (if frozen), Preserved Lemons, and Fresh Herbs.
- Let simmer with the top open for an additional 10 minutes. You can give a little taste and add more salt or lemon juice if needed.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Set Instant Pot to Saute to medium heat and once hot, spray with olive oil and add onions. Saute for about 1-2 minutes and add your 1 tbsp of flour or corn starch to create a rue.
- Then using prongs, add chicken thighs with juice and combine.
- Add in the chicken broth making sure to get all the scrapings from the bottom.
- Next, turn off the saute setting and add the carrots, it is ok if they are not completely submerged.
- Put on the lid and turn on the pressure cooker to high pressure and set for 7 minutes. Once it is finished, quick-release the steam and remove the top.
- If serving with Couscous, you can begin this now which should only take about 5 minutes using Trader Joes whole wheat couscous.
- Put the Instant Pot back on the lowest saute setting and add in the frozen peas, olives, and preserved lemon. Simmer for about 1-2 minutes.
- Scoop into your bowls, garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, and serve.
Serving Suggestions for Moroccan Lemon ChickenI usually enjoy this dish with whole wheat couscous from Trader Joes which is very easy to make and cooks in only 5 minutes. Adding 1/4 cup of cooked whole wheat couscous will add an additional 160 calories, 4g of fiber, and 6g of protein to this recipe. This Moroccan Lemon Chicken is also great for meal prep. It will freeze and reheat very well. I'll often double the batch and freeze several serving. Don't forget, making your own preserved lemons is incredibly easy and you can find the recipe here.
How to Enjoy Your Moroccan Lemon Chicken
This Moroccan Lemon chicken recipe is gluten-free, low-carb, keto, and paleo friendly when eaten alone. If you are following a low calorie diet, you can enjoy this dish with whole wheat couscous or basmati brown rice. A 1/4 cup will add an additional 150-200 calories and still keep you under a 500 calorie meal!
For an extra special touch, I recommend serving this dish in small tajines. I found this amazing 10pc. set on Amazon and use them all the time when I make Moroccan or Indian dishes. They add that extra special touch and are a hit at dinner parties.
If you prefer not to purchase preserved lemons they are also incredibly easy to make and only take salt and a bag of lemons. Simple slice several lemons, place in a mason jar and fill with fresh lemon juice and about 1/4 cup of salt. It will take about 1 week for them to become preserved. Another fantastic use for preserved lemons is to add them under the skin when baking chicken or in the center of baked fish. Preserving the lemons gets rid of the bitter taste from the lemon rinds and makes them completely edible adding wonderful flavor to your dishes.
Another tip when making this recipe is to add a little corn starch, tapioca starch, or flour to the chicken broth if you want your sauce to be thicker. This is traditional not a thick sauce like many may be used to. Adding starch as a thickener is a quick and easy way to thicken your sauces without adding too many calories. Just take out a little broth when the dish is finished cooking, whisk in 1 tablespoon of corn starch, and pour back into the dish. Simmer on low heat until the sauce has thickened.
If you make this Moroccan Lemon Chicken Recipe, please let me know and leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does. Be sure to also check out many of my other delicious recipes that are made to be healthy without sacrificing taste.
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