Learn how to make the best homemade Chicken Lentil Stew Rfissa recipe.
Healthy and hearty Moroccan Chicken Lentil Stew features flavourful chicken thighs, onions, garlic, tomatoes, ginger, fenugreek, saffron, green lentils, split peas and North African spice blend Ras El Hanout.
Easy Chicken Lentil Stew is quick to prep and then can be left alone in a pot to simmer for 2 hours until tender. The eye-popping Moroccan comfort food entree is served with hard boiled eggs, chopped cilantro and over traditional shredded flatbread.
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What Is Rfissa?
Rfissa medhoussa, or trid, is a hearty main dish that is popular in Morocco and is usually served during traditional celebrations.
The authentic North African Chicken Lentil Stew features tender chicken thighs cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, saffron, fenugreek, and Moroccan spice blend Ras El Hanout. The stew is then served on a bed of shredded Moroccan flatbread.
It’s traditional in Morocco to serve a healthy homemade rfissa recipe to a woman 3 days after she has given birth, as fenugreek is believed to be beneficial for women that are recovering from childbirth.
The aromatic entree did not appear in Moroccan cookbooks until the 1990s. Culinary historian Anny Gaul suggests this is because rfissa is related to rural and rustic cooking traditions, whereas cookbook authors were mostly urban elites.
What Is Ras El Hanout?
Ras El Hanout is one of the predominant flavours in an authentic Rfissa recipe.
It is a complex, aromatic spice blend typically associated with Moroccan cuisine.
The literal translation of ras el hanout from Arabic to English is “head of the shop,” but in reality, it means “top shelf,” both terms implying that this is the very best offering in a spice shop.
No two versions of this spice blend are the same, though most recipes feature cardamom, nutmeg, anise, mace, cinnamon, ginger, various peppers, and turmeric. Some blends can add up to 80 spices, so the beauty of the North African spice lies in its flexible recipe but also in family preferences.
Ras El Hanout is the predominant flavour in the sauce of our Rfissa recipe.
Travel to Morocco by Cooking Chicken Lentil Stew at Home
I love traveling to Africa and the Middle East.
My first visit to the region was a family road trip to South Africa. We fell in love with Africa while driving through Kruger National Park, The Panorama Route, Port Elizabeth, Tsitsikamma, Hermanus, Stellenbosch and Cape Town.
What I found most fascinating is North Africa’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in France, Germany and Italy, each town in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt serves its own local speciality.
After returning from a Moroccan adventure, cook our traditional Rfissa recipe for friends and family to share a delicious taste of North Africa.
My Family Loves Moroccan Chicken Lentil Stew
My family loves Chicken Lentil Stew as it reminds my father of our road trip of Morocco.
We spent 2 weeks driving from Casablanca to Marrakech, making stops to visit tiny towns, beautiful beaches and scenic mountain ranges.
Most restaurants in Morocco serve a variety of tagines and couscous. We were thrilled to sample a Rfissa recipe for the first time as it was a unique dish we hadn’t tried yet.
I wanted to recreate that special Moroccan dining experience for my family so prepared this Chicken Lentil Stew on a cold winter’s night for dinner.
I knew my family would give the dish a thumbs up as they love chicken, flavourful spiced sauces and flatbread.
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Rfissa Recipe Health Benefits
Our easy Rfissa recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Rich in a group of phytochemicals called carotenoids, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and provide protection against cancer. Tomatoes are also a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C.
Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system.
All types of lentils are rich in cholesterol-lowering fibre. They are also a low-fat source of iron, vital for the cardiovascular system and for energy, and contain B vitamins that protect against heart disease.
A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals.
Eggs contain two vital nutrients that are not present in many foods: iodine and vitamin D. Eggs are also rich in tissue-building protein and vitamin B12, which helps your body manufacture blood cells.
Rfissa Recipe Cooking Tips
This homemade Chicken Lentil Stew recipe is quick and easy to make at home.
- We suggest using a large pot or Dutch Oven with a lid to slowly simmer this Moroccan Chicken Lentil Stew.
- We’ve used bone in thighs for this recipe but you could use a selection of your favourite chicken parts such as legs, drumsticks, or wings. We suggest using dark meat as it’s more flavourful.
- We’ve used red onions in this recipe but you could substitute for Spanish cooking onions, shallots or sweet Vidalia onions.
- You can purchase Ras El Hanout online or at your local Middle Eastern market.
- We often serve this Chicken Lentil Stew with chapati or naan bread but if you have a North African bakery in your community we suggest enjoy it served over finely chopped msemen.
- If you’re serving a crowd we suggest displaying the Moroccan chicken stew in a large shallow serving bowl.
What To Serve with North African Chicken Lentil Stew
North African Chicken Lentil Stew is our favourite Moroccan main course to serve as a hearty dinner in the winter.
If you’re hosting a North African inspired feast you may want to serve our Rfissa recipe with Spicy Vegetarian Harissa Pasta, Healthy Roasted Vegetable Couscous, Spiced Pea Fritters, Vegan Spicy Crispy Roasted Harissa Potatoes, Egyptian Salad Vegan Salata Baladi, and Pkaila Tunisian Butter Bean Stew.
If you’re looking for a delicious dessert to serve after your Moroccan feast why not make our popular Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Coconut Rum Banana Bread Bundt Cake, Mahalabia, Sweet Lebanese Sesame Tahini Rolls, Baileys Banoffee Cake, or Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies?
You May Also Enjoy These Chicken Recipes…
- Ca Ri Ga Vietnamese Chicken Curry
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- Japanese Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry
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- Crispy Roast Chicken and Leek Risotto
- Moghrabieh Lebanese Chickpea Chicken Couscous
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Moroccan Chicken Lentil Stew Rfissa Recipe Video
Rfissa Moroccan Chicken Lentil Stew
- French knife
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Nonstick Skillet
- Spatula or Wooden Spoon
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 lb Bone in Chicken Thighs
- 2 Red Onions sliced
- 6 Garlic Cloves sliced
- 2 Tomatoes finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger
- 2 tsp Ras El Hanout
- 1/2 tsp Fenugreek
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- Pinch Saffron Threads
- 4 cups Chicken Stock
- 1/2 cup Green Lentils
- 1/2 cup Split Peas soaked overnight
- 1/3 cup Cilantro chopped
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 Eggs
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat and cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Reheat the pan over medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes until golden. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down.
- Add the ginger, ras el hanout, fenugreek, pepper, saffron and a pinch of salt. Mix well and return the chicken to the pan. Pour in the stock and add lentils, split peas, and half the cilantro. Mix well. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to heat to low and cook for 2 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and split peas are soft and tender. Once cooked, add the butter and most of the remaining cilantro. Mix together so the butter melts and makes the sauce shimmer.
- Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to a boil and hard boil the eggs for 5-6 minutes. Drain, peel and chop into quarters.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat. Cook the chapatis for 10-20 seconds on each side. Slice into strips and put into a large serving dish. Top with cooked chicken and spoon over the lentils. Arrange the eggs over the top and scatter the remaining cilantro. Serve hot.
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