Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Casserole

moroccan chickenSo here it is: my favorite season of the year. The days are a little crisper and we are getting ready to go back to school. Lucky for us, the summer season’s crop of fruit and vegetables is still prevalent in local markets. I’m savoring every bite while I still can.

One kitchen tool I can’t live without is my slow cooker. Call me a 1950s housewife, I don’t care. It’s been a surprisingly useful kitchen tool all summer and now it’s the autumn I’ll be using it even more. I invented this recipe for Moroccan chicken since I wanted to use up all my late summer tomatoes I had sitting around in my kitchen.  The frugalista in me also loves cooking with chicken thighs (so much more affordable and flavorful than chicken breasts!) and dried beans.

This casserole is something so easy to put together but the wonderful flavors and tender chicken make it seem as if you’ve been standing over a hot oven for hours. Shhh! Your secret is safe with me.

Moroccan Chicken Casserole 
Serves 6-8 (Great for leftovers the next day too!)

4 chicken thighs – boneless and skinless
1 punnet cherry tomatoes or 6-8 large plum tomatoes or 3 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup dried beans – fava, garbanzo or cannelini are delicious
Ras el Hanout spice (you can buy this or make this at home)
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper

Alternative vegetables you could add to the tomato mix include: carrots, sweet potato, green beans, green pepper, kale or mushrooms (only put mushroom in during last 30 minutes of cooking).

{Nutrition: This recipe is low fat, high protein and the tomatoes are full of nutrients including vitamins A, C and K and lycopene which may lower your risk for cancer and heart disease. Adding other vegetables to the mix increases the nutritional value!}

* If it’s already past tomato season where you are, a large jar or can of tomatoes will do.

1. Mix the chicken pieces in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of Ras el Hanout and a pinch of salt. Lightly sauté the chicken in a pan with the coconut oil until both sides are brown (they don’t have to be cooked through).

2. Place chicken pieces in your slow cooker with layers of tomatoes, red pepper, onion, garlic, dried beans and some filtered water to cover everything. The beans use up quite a lot of liquid so you may have to add more water while cooking.

3. Turn on to high setting for 5-6 hours. Stir once or twice during the cooking process if you are able to. After that, turn on low setting until the beans and other vegetables are tender and the chicken falls apart. Lightly season with additional salt and black pepper, if needed.

4. Serve with brown rice or farro and a green salad.

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