Spice Route Chicken


Against the Grain

Published by William Morrow

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

The triad of spices found in this dish-cumin, coriander, and cinnamon-appear in aromatic sauces all over the Mediterranean, but especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and parts of North Africa. This is delicious over simple sautéed or steamed spinach.

6 servings

Cooking Methodbraising


Total Timeunder 2 hours

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturemeaty, salty, savory, spiced, sweet


  • One 4- to 4½-pound chicken, cut into pieces and skinned
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped green pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons seedless golden raisins
  • 8 pitted and coarsely chopped Kalamata olives


  1. Wash and pat dry the chicken. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or wide nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and brown on all sides. You may have to do this in batches. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain all but 2 tablespoons fat out of the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions, peppers, and garlic, and cook until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and bay leaves and stir for 1 minute with a wooden spoon.

  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste and place it back in the pot. Add the tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes.

  3. While the chicken is cooking, plump the raisins in ¼ cup warm water, then drain. Add the raisins and olives to the pot 5 minutes before removing from the heat. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve.


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