J is for Jordan: Sawani Dijaj (Stewed Chicken)

Sawani Dijaj: Jordanian Stewed Chicken

I’m really excited, guys.  Yesterday I had a personal victory.  You see, for our wedding we received a mandolin.  No, not the instrument, but the nifty tool to make slicing easier.  Shortly after the wedding we decided that we should make scalloped potatoes, and broke into the mandolin.  As I whisked the sauce on the stove, my husband started slicing our potatoes.  All was going swimmingly until I heard him curse loudly.  I turned around, and there he was cradling his thumb.  “It’s really sharp,” he said.

No kidding, I thought to myself.  I sent him to go clean up his thumb, rolling my eyes at his clumsiness.  My eye rolling lasted for about thirty seconds, until I too started cursing.  And in true “anything you can do, I can do better” mentality, my thumb wouldn’t stop bleeding.  So our mandolin prompted our first married trip for emergency medical care (and my first time getting stitches!).

As a result, for the past month and a half our mandolin has been sitting there mocking us.  Last night, though, in the second stage of our battle royale, I took it out and set it up.  Armed with steel gloves this time, I came out victorious.  We had beautifully sliced potatoes and onions.  And no essence of thumb.

Anyway, those potatoes and onions were a great accompaniment to this delicious stewed chicken.  The more I cook my way around the world, the more I enjoy the warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg in my savory dishes.  Honestly, in preparation, the dish itself is largely similar to any old roast chicken with root vegetables that I’ve made countless times before.  It’s the spice palette that really sets it apart.

In all honestly, I think I’d like a bit more acidity to the meal.  While the tomatoes provide some, I’d like a little bit more brightness.  But, for those who want to travel to Africa without leaving the comfort of their own kitchens, this will do the trick.

Sawani Dijaj: Jordanian Stewed Chicken

Makes 4 Servings

Adapted from Bacon is Magic

Sawani Dijaj: Jordanian Stewed Chicken

Chicken resting on a bed of potatoes and onions. Yum!


  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
Sawani Dijaj: Jordanian Stewed Chicken

Hot and steamy chicken, straight from the oven


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Mix together salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Rub the chicken thighs in olive oil, then apply season liberally. Brown the chicken on the stovetop.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the potatoes and onions into ¼ inch rounds. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are clear. When the onions are almost done, add in the garlic and finish sautéing. Deglaze pan with water, white wine, or broth.
  4. Place browned chicken thighs into a greased baking dish, and top with the potato and onion mixture. Be sure to include the liquid from both pans in the baking dish.
  5. Scatter the tomatoes around the top of the food, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for about 40 minutes.
  6. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

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