Karl’s Chicken Casablanca Soup

Eilene was sick today so I plan on Chicken soup. Originally I was going to go with my usual French chicken noodle soup and then I noticed the bag of Mandarin oranges on the counter.  I had bought these thinking they were Cuties, but they were not as easy to peel.  As a result, they were just sitting on the counter getting old.

Karl's Chickem Casablanca Soup

Karl’s Chickem Casablanca Soup

I went on the Internet looking for some kind of “orange juice chicken soup.” There were surprisingly few hits and fewer that looked appealing or what I had in mind. One that was close was a Moroccan soup that used orange juice.  I looked up several Moroccan chicken soups and the spices blends and ingredients that made them Moroccan. Picking and choosing and using what I had on hand I came up with this recipe.

Note after dinner: This was a fantastic combination of flavors. Spicy with being hot. It may seem that there is a lot of spice for a dish this size, but it was perfect. The Mandarin orange juice worked as a secret ingredient (the soup did not taste “orange-y,” but you would have missed it if it was not there). Finally the bulgur thickened the soup just the right amount without turning it into a pasty stew.

Karl’s Chicken Casablanca Soup


1 Tbs. olive oil
3 bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
1 sweet onion
1 stalk celery
½ cup baby carrots
1 leek
6 cloves garlic
1 tomato
¾ cup orange juice, (I used 10 fresh Mandarin oranges)
Tbs. orange zest
1 tsp. ginger, minced
1 tsp. cumin, ground
1 tsp. coriander, ground
1 tsp. Hungarian paprika
½ tsp. Indian chili powder
½ tsp. pepper, fresh ground
½ tsp. cinnamon, ground
¼ tsp. turmeric, ground
¼ tsp.  kosher salt
2 cloves, ground
Pinch fresh grated nutmeg
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup garbanzo beans (fresh cooked or canned)
¼ cup bulgur


1. Cut each chicken thigh in three by cutting on each side of the bone. At this point, leave the skin on and set aside.

2. Coarsely chop the onion, celery, carrots, leek, garlic, and tomato. Set aside.

3. Zest and juice the oranges. Measure and set aside

4. Measure the spices into a small bowl and set aside.

5. Add the oil to a large pot heated over medium-high heat and brown the chicken well.

6. Remove the chicken to a plate and all but 1 Tbs. of the grease from the pot. Reserve this grease.

7. Add the onion and celery to the pot and sauté until softened and starting to color, 2 to 3 minutes.

8. Stir in the carrots, leeks, and garlic to the pot and sauté for 2 minutes more.

9. Pull the vegetables to the edges of the pot and add 1 Tbs. to the open space in the middle.  Pour the spices into the open space and toast the spices for 30 seconds.

10. Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir the spices into the vegetables.

11. Add the chicken broth to the pot.

12. Pull off most of the skin from the chicken and add it to the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes.

13. Fish the nine pieces of chicken out of the pot and add the garbanzo beans. Simmer for 10 minutes more.

14. Let the chicken cool and then remove any remaining skin and the bones.  Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and add it back into the pot.

15. Stir in the bulgur and simmer for 10 minutes more.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Poultry, Soups

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