Does this Moroccan Smothered Chicken and Barley sound exotic? It is a heavenly spiced, tender and juicy chicken dish that is a one pan meal with barley.
Every once in a while I like to swap out barley for rice. It’s super nutritious, full of fiber and I love it’s chewy texture. Mixed with these amazing Moroccan spices and chicken and you have a wonderful meal. I use the dark meat of the thighs in this dish as they are richer in flavor and texture compared to breast meat.
This is an adapted recipe from an old magazine tear out I had and I have since added and changed the ingredients over time to my tastes, but I believe it to be from Cooking Light circa 1990s.
First off I opened up my spice cabinet and got the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, mint, garlic, kosher salt and sesame seeds.
Using a whisk I blended these together and pressed half of the spice mixture on each side of the boneless chicken thighs.
In a heated sauté pan with olive oil the spiced thighs went, and I browned them on each side. Once they were crispy and browned I took them off the heat, seasoned them with a little kosher salt and set them aside. They looked amazing and the spices permeated the air.
For the vegetables I diced the onion and red bell pepper. I crushed and chopped the garlic and got that in the sauté pan to start cooking. Next, I added 2 teaspoons of olive oil and over medium heat sautéed the onion, bell pepper and added the soy sauce. I cooked this for several minutes until slightly browned.
Then I added the broth, barley, drained tomatoes and remaining spice mixture. Stir this up to incorporate and place the 6 browned chicken thighs in between the vegetable mixture evenly. I brought this to a boil, reduced the heat to simmer and covered and cooked for 50 minutes.
It was a little juicy so I left it uncovered and reduced it for 5 minutes on medium heat then let stand 15 minutes to completely absorb all liquids. Sprinkle with the green onions and serve.
Look at that plate, beautiful! The flavorful barley and vegetables are a perfect side for the Moroccan spiced chicken thighs.
With the addition of the chopped green onions as a garnish it also lends a slight crunch texture to the barley.
Moroccan Smothered Chicken and Barley
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp dried mint flakes
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp cayenne powder
- 6 skinless chicken thighs
- 4 tsp olive oil separated
- 1 onion diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3½ cups chicken broth
- 1¼ cups uncooked pearl barley
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes drained
- 6 chopped green onions
- Combine the first eight ingredients in a small bowl and rub the chicken thighs with half of the spice mixture.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the chicken until browned on each side. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and sauté the onion, bell pepper and add the soy sauce. Cook over medium heat for several minutes until slightly brown.
- Add the broth, barley, tomatoes and remaining spice mixture. Place the 6 browned chicken thighs in between the vegetable mixture evenly. Bring this to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 50 minutes.
- Uncover and let stand 15 minutes to completely absorb all liquids. Sprinkle with the green onions and serve.