Moroccan Chicken Stew with Almonds and Chickpeas (Djej Kdra Touimiya)

  • Serves

    serves 4


A kdra is akin to the long-cooked North African clay-pot dish known as a tagine. This version is adapted from one by Paula Wolfert in her book Couscous and other Good Foods from Morocco (Ecco Books, 1987).


For the Smen (makes about 1/4 cup)

  • 16 tbsp. butter, cut into chunks
  • 6 tbsp. fine sea salt

For the Chicken Kdra

  • 1 (3 1/2-lb.) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
  • 1 cup blanched whole almonds
  • 14 tsp. turmeric or saffron
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground dried ginger
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. smen
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 14 cup chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 12 cup canned chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Step 1

Make the smen: In a bowl, knead together the butter and salt until combined. Form into 8 patties; stack in an earthenware container and cover; set aside to let rest in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. Melt butter in a pot over low heat, without stirring, removing foam, until clear, 20–25 minutes. Cool. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Repeat. Discard solids; spoon into a jar. Seal; store in a cool, dark spot for a month.

Step 2

Make the Chicken Kdra: Combine chicken, almonds, turmeric, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and 2 tbsp. smen in a medium pot over medium heat; cook, turning, 3–4 minutes. Add half the onions and broth; boil. Reduce to medium-low; cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

Step 3

Add remaining onion and parsley to chicken; cover and cook until chicken is very tender, 25–30 minutes. Remove chicken; set aside. Bring sauce to a boil; cook until thickened, 13–15 minutes. Return chicken to pot along with salt and chickpeas; heat through. Drizzle in lemon juice and serve.

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