With less than 5 ingredients this simple spicy chicken Marrakesh is a brilliant recipe for an easy midweek dinner, perfect for relaxed entertaining and great for families too! Filled with a gorgeous spicy ras el hanout butter, the chicken is beautifully simple and so so moreish.
One of the things I love to do is look through all my cookbooks and decide what to make. Sometimes I go for something challenging, sometimes it's something I know I'll love because it's got all my favourite ingredients in and sometimes it's just something that grabs me because it's simple as well as tasty.
That was the case with this chicken Marrakesh which is stuffed with a gorgeous homemade ras el hanout butter. I wanted something quick to prepare on a weeknight, something not too unhealthy and something I knew we would love.
The recipe is slightly adapted from Fresh Spice by Arun Kapil. With my love of spices, this is a brilliant recipe book for me.
If you love flavoured butters then this recipe is definitely one to try. The ras el hanout butter keeps the chicken deliciously moist as it cooks and of course the lemon zest and ras el hanout spice mix fills it with flavour on the inside and outside.
Ingredient notes for chicken Marrakesh
To make this chicken stuffed with ras el hanout butter you'll only need 4 ingredients. They are:
- Butter - I like to use salted butter as this is a savoury recipe. If you use unsalted then add a little salt when adding the ras el hanout.
- Ras el hanout - This is a Moroccan spice blend which literally means 'top of the shop', meaning the best spices. Depending on what brand you use it will taste a little different as the spices are not always the same but key spices in the blend are cumin, coriander, cloves and cinnamon.
- Lemon zest - Make sure you buy unwaxed lemons so you can grate the zest.
- Chicken breasts
How to make chicken Marrakesh
Do check out the recipe card further down the page for full details. First you need to make the ras el hanout butter simply by mashing the ras el hanout and lemon zest into the butter. I then wrap it up in clingfilm in a log shape and put it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes to firm up.
Take the chicken breasts, press down with one hand and slice them horizontally but not all the way across with the other hand. You are aiming to make a pocket in the middle of the chicken.
Take the butter out of the freezer and cut slices off and place them in the pocket in the middle of the chicken. Use a couple of cocktail sticks to pin the edge of the pocket together and hold the butter inside.
Heat a frying pan with a little oil and then fry the chicken on both sides. It'll take about 8 minutes on each side as you want to be sure it is cooked through. If you have especially large chicken breasts give them a few more minutes.
As the chicken cooks, some of the butter will probably run out into the pan. You can use a spoon to baste the chicken with it. You can also add a little extra butter to the pan and then spoon it over the chicken breast as it cooks.
What can you serve with chicken Marrakesh?
I love Moroccan flavours and there are so many delicious North African sides that would go so well with this. If you want to keep things simple then just serve it with flat breads and a simple green salad. As you can see here, I served it with broccoli which went really well with the spicy butter.
Sometimes I serve it with this tomato and olive couscous salad. I stir a little ras el hanout into the couscous for extra North African vibes! If you want more spiciness then it's also delicious with my harrissa carrot salad.
Can you prepare this meal in advance?
It is best to at least make the ras el hanout butter in advance so it has time to harden before being placed in the chicken. You can also put the butter inside the chicken and then just take the chicken out of the fridge before cooking it.
If you do this it is best to take the chicken Marrakesh out of the fridge 20 minutes before cooking so the chicken is not fridge cold when you start cooking it.
If you are serving the chicken with salads then they can also be prepped in advance.
What can you do with the leftovers?
Like with lot of chicken dishes, the leftover chicken can be kept in the fridge for up to three days and then eaten in all kinds of ways. For example it's great in sandwiches or salads.
Other ways to use the ras el hanout butter
If you are making the butter for this North African recipe then it's worth considering making a larger amount so you can use the butter in other recipes too. It's great melted onto steamed or boiled vegetables, especially corn on the cob.
You can also use it as a normal butter in savoury meals like sandwiches. It adds an extra layer of flavour.
You can also use it to coat a whole chicken before roasting or to put between the meat and the skin, which adds loads of flavour and keeps the chicken really moist.
- Frying Pan
- 100 g butter at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 4 chicken breasts
- Put the butter, ras el hanout and lemon zest in a small bowl and mash with a fork.
- Put the butter on a piece of cling film and roll it up into a sausage shape and then put it back in the fridge to solidify. If you need it more quickly put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
- Make a cut in the side of each chicken breast. Cut the butter into slices and insert one or two into each breast. Use a cocktail stick to close up the gap in the side of the chicken breast.
- Heat a little olive oil in a pan and put the chicken breasts in. Cook for about 8 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through. You can add extra butter to the pan too and spoon it over the chicken occasionally as it cooks.
More Recipes you might like
How about one of these tasty recipes:
- Moroccan spiced salmon (also with ras el hanout!)
- Harissa chicken traybake
- Ras el hanout chicken traybake
Keep in touch
Do let me know if you make this simple chicken Marrakesh or any of my other recipes. I love to get feedback from readers.