IF using the saffron, add the saffron to a small bowl and add 2 Tablespoons of hot water. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine all the ground spices, pressed garlic, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.
Add the saffron and water mixture to the spices. If not using the saffron, add 2 Tablespoons of hot water to the spice mixture and stir to combine.
Spread the spice paste all over the chicken thighs. Let marinate at room temperature while you prep the onions.
In a large pot with a lid, add the olive oil, 1/4 cup of water and the onions. Cook over medium-low heat until the onions are soft and just beginning to color, about 20 minutes.
Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Add 1/4 cup water and the cilantro and parsley.
Place the lid on the pot and adjust the heat to medium-low so that the stew is at a bare simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
While the chicken is cooking, add the apricots, orange juice, cinnamon stick, butter and sugar to a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until the liquid is reduced by approximately 1/3 and has become slightly syrupy.
Remove the cinnamon stick and add the apricots and the liquid to the chicken.
Stir to combine.
Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
If the chicken has not reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees, continue to cook the chicken for another 5 minutes. Re-check the temperature and continue cooking until the chicken reaches 165 degrees.
Remove the cilantro and parsley and serve.