Years ago I bought a slow cooker and did an experiment.
I cooked two batches of Coq au Vin – one in the oven and the other in my slow cooker. It was fun tasting them side by side. While the slow cooker won on texture. The oven was miles ahead on flavour.
So I concluded that the oven was better. And promptly gave away my slow cooker to a lucky Stonesoup reader.
Fast forward a decade or so and my thoughts about slow cookers have completely reversed. I now LOVE mine and use it at least once a week.
The more I use it. The more I love it. Especially for busy work days when I know I’ll be home later than usual.
The secret is keeping the prep super simple… like under 3 minutes.
So just plonking 3 or 4 ingredients in the slow cooker and turning it on. No chopping. No browning things. Sometimes no defrosting even!
Then in the evening it’s a matter of adding a few more ingredients to heat through and dinner is ready.
This Moroccan-ish Apricot number is a winner on all fronts.
The tomato paste gives a strong flavour foundation with highlights from the spices and sweetness from the apricots. And of course succulent chicken courtesy of our friend the slow cooker.
If you think that slow cooking is just for Winter, think again. I first made this in Summer and was so grateful for getting dinner cooked without heating up the kitchen with the oven.
Chicken drumsticks are the favourite in our family but it’s also excellent with other cuts – see the variations for ideas.
And it looks like a lot of ingredients but 3 of them are spices and one is salt!
Slow Moroccan Apricot Chicken
- 150 g dried apricots
- 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 kg chicken drumsticks see variations
- 1/2 teaspoon salt on the chicken
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 can chickpeas drained
- 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley
Place apricots and tomato paste in the base of the slow cooker. Add chicken and sprinkle over the salt, cumin, coriander and paprika.
Cover and cook on low for 11-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
When the chicken is cooked through, increase the heat to high. Add the chickpeas and cook for 5 -10 mins or until hot.
Serve with parsley on top.
Variations & Substitutions for Slow Moroccan Apricot Chicken
6 ingredients – use just one of the spices or replace with 3 teaspoons of a spice blend like ras el hanout or baharat or even curry powder.
plan-B (pantry) – serve with green olives or roast almonds or other roast nuts instead of the parsley.
short on time – use the oven. Add 1 cup water and cook covered 180C (350F) for an hour or so.
Keto / ultra low carb – skip the apricots. Skip the chickpeas and serve with cauliflower rice, baby spinach, cooked greens or green beans instead. Frozen green beans, broccoli and cauliflower / cauliflower rice can be warmed straight from frozen in the slow cooker – allow 15 minutes or so on high.
vegetarian – these flavours are amazing with eggplant. Increase the chickpeas to get enough protein or serve with a poached or fried egg. Also have been meaning to try it with firm tofu.
different protein – frozen or defrosted chicken thighs bone in, chicken thigh fillets, chicken breast fillets , sausages, meatballs, ground (minced) pork or ground (minced) lamb, salmon fillets, other fish fillets. The following can also be used but these will need defrosting first – whole chicken, pork belly, pork shoulder, lamb shanks, lamb shoulder.
different fruit – dried figs, prunes, raisins, cranberries will all work.
different flavour bombs / alternatives to parsley – roast almonds, green olives, fried shallots, feta or goats cheese.
nightshade-free – use 3 tablespoons soy sauce or oyster sauce instead of the tomato.
more substantial (carb lovers) – serve with flat bread or potatoes.
more substantial (low carb) – avocado, low carb veg (see keto ideas), roast almonds, extra chicken, poached or fried eggs.
different vegetables – serve with cauliflower rice, baby spinach, cooked greens or green beans instead. Frozen green beans, broccoli and cauliflower / cauliflower rice can be warmed straight from frozen in the slow cooker – allow 15 minutes or so on high. Eggplant, red peppers, onion and zucchini can all be added at the beginning if you have time.
more fancy / for entertaining – serve with parsley, almonds AND olives or feta. And a nice green salad on the side.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
dried apricots / salt / ground cumin / ground coriander / smoked paprika / chickpeas – keep them in the pantry.
tomato paste – unopened can stay in the pantry. Once open will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.
chicken drumsticks – freeze them.
flat leaf parsley – tends to be the most long lasting of the leafy herbs. Should keep for a few weeks in the fridge if wrapped in a plastic bag. For longer periods pop it in the freezer – it will wilt but will still be useable in this dish.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – more salt! Or add in a flavour bomb.
too dry – overcooked chicken. Next time set the timer on the slow cooker to switch to warm earlier. For chicken breast fillets 4 hours is generally enough. For now a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or dollop of mayo will help.
no slow cooker – use the oven. Add 1 cup water and cook covered 180C (350F) for an hour or so. Or simmer everything on the stove top – adding extra water as needed.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the parsley separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or can be frozen.
More Recipes like Slow Moroccan Apricot Chicken
- Roast Chicken, Walnut & Feta Bowls
- Pop’s Slow Cooker Magic Meal (slow cooker lamb shanks)
- Slow Mapo Tofu
- Lemon Basil Roast Chicken
- Cheesy Chicken
Hi Jules. I remember your comments about the slow cookers all those years ago – I’ve been following you since way back when. In fact, they influenced my decision to purchase a slow cooker which I ummed and aahed about for so long but eventually bought and then never used much. I have found a few good recipes lately, but I would love it if you would share more recipes that you love for the slow cooker. I don’t think we can never have enough slow cooker recipes. My husband is gluten free so all those recipes call for tins of condensed soup and the like are out. I prefer real ingredients anyway.
Thanks for all the work you do :)
Outstanding! Used measurements to serve 6 and used bone-in skinless thighs. Probably doesn’t need to cook for 10 hours but the chicken was delicious, fell off the bone and sauce is succulent; slightly sweet and deep smoky. This is another Jules keeper!!
I followed the recipe to a tee and it was a culinary success. So easy. So delicious. And so going to make it again! I can see how the recipe is versatile. Thank you!
I want to try this, looks yummy. However I’ve never used the slow cooker without extra liquid… does it not go dry with just that small amount of tomato paste, I’m afraid to set and forget and cubed gone to a burnt offering?