Inspired by Joey’s restaurant and the complex spices and flavours of North Africa with coriander, cumin and cinnamon. The base of this soup is chicken with chickpeas and carrots. This recipe was originally shared in 2013.
In our house, especially during the winter, there is always homemade soup in the fridge and my newest creation; Moroccan chicken soup got rave reviews from my soup-loving family.
This soup was inspired by a soup I had at a restaurant when I was doing some shopping with my mom and we stopped for a quick bite, I ordered the Moroccan soup and fell in love with the depth of flavour. The broth was delicately spiced, yet so flavourful. I knew that I wanted to learn more about Moroccan flavours and cuisine.
What is Moroccan cuisine?
Moroccan cuisine is a combination of influences from Arabic, Spanish, and Mediterranean cuisines, which is what makes it so interesting to me.
I started to do some research, taking books out of the library like Morocco: A Culinary Journey by Jeff Koehler and The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert to learn more about the culinary traditions of Morocco. I wanted to learn everything I could!
For this Moroccan-inspired soup, I also leaned on classic techniques that I know and love. It begins in a more classically French way, building flavours a classic mirepoix, a combination of carrots, celery and onion.
The spices are what you often find in Moroccan dishes, a combination of cumin, coriander, cinnamon and turmeric and they create a lightly spiced broth with a beautiful, rich colour.
One of the things I love the most about cooking is exploring different flavours and regions that are new to me. And I fell in love with the flavours of Morocco when I started cooking with their flavours. This Moroccan chicken soup with chickpeas is one of those recipes that inspired me to make a vegetarian version of Moroccan soup.
The chicken is poached in the liquid for the soup, so you don’t need to worry about having pre-cooked chicken on hand. This also adds extra flavour to the broth. I’m using boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe along with chickpeas, but you could also use chicken thighs if that is what you have on hand.
What I love about this soup is that it’s super filling and makes the perfect packed lunch for work on cold, winter days. It’s also made with mostly pantry staples, and a few fresh ingredients that I always have in my fridge.
I also love making a Moroccan chicken stew, which leans on similar flavours and is another winter favourite.
Moroccan Chicken Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 7-8 cups water
- 1 19oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro, for serving
- In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Season chicken breasts with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add to pan and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, remove from pot and set aside.
- Add the onion, carrots and celery to the pot, stirring occasionally until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, ginger, spices and 1/2 tsp salt, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste, cook until lightly caramelized, about one minute. Add water, turn up heat and bring to a boil, season with remaining salt. Carefully return chicken to pot, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
- Remove chicken from soup and shred with two forks. Return chicken to pot, add chickpeas and lemon juice. Serve with chopped cilantro.
We loved this Moroccan Chicken Soup and I hope you love it too, let me know if you try it in the comments.