Moroccan Spiced Chicken and Apricot Stew

This is a new favorite of mine from the people at Cooks Illustrated :: and done in a slow cooker - bonus!


12 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs - I use a couple of bone-in breast pieces too. About 4.5 pounds total
salt and pepper
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions chopped fine
6 medium garlic cloves - minced
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp hot paprika
8 ounces/ 1 cup dried apricots -  cut in half
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 TBS flour
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 TBS lemon juice
1 lemon cut into wedges

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet until almost smoking. Lay chicken in one layer skin side down. Cook until golden - about 6 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 minutes until golden. Transfer chicken to slow cooker - remove skin. Pour off all but 2 tsp of fat and add rest of chicken. Repeat process and add chicken to slow cooker.
Pour off all but 2 tsp of fat and return to medium heat. Add onions and 1/4 tsp of salt. Cook until onions are translucent and soft. Scrap brown bits off the bottom of skillet. About 4 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, cardamon, and paprika. Cook 30 seconds. Add apricots and 2 1/2 cups of the chicken broth. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW until the chicken is almost tender, 3-4 hours. Quickly stir in the chickpeas and cook until the chicken is tender but not falling apart - about 1 more hour.
Transfer the chicken to a carving board and tent loosely with foil. Discard the cinnamon stick. Set the cooker on HIGH and whisk the flour with the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth until smooth then stir into the slow cooker. Continue to cook on high until the sauce is thickened and no longer tastes of flour - 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the slow cooker to heat through. Serve with lemon wedges. So yum!
I found that with this recipe you have a great chicken and sauce that tastes good wrapped in a burrito too!