Monday, December 12, 2011

Yet another fabu Moroccan chicken recipe, this one roasted with vegetables

A little trendlet is in the making, what with two Moroccan chicken recipes in a row.  Despite their place names, the dishes themselves are quite different.  The Braised Moroccan chicken with preserved lemons and green olives is prettier, but the curried Moroccan chicken and vegetable roast includes vegetables, thereby eliminating the necessity for a separate side dish.  So here's what I did.

First off, I shamelessly borrowed Amy Rudnick's recipe for the curried Moroccan chicken and vegetable roast.  Could it have been simpler?  A big fat NO.  Could it have been more delicious?  Another big fat NO.  Could it have been healtheir  Yet another big fat NO.  Kind of your all-round go-to easy recipe when you're in a hurry but still want to impress.

So here goes.
1 lb butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
½ cup canola or olive oil, divided
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 + ½ tsp Madras curry powder
6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Preheat oven to 450.
Toss the squash, brussels sprouts, onions in ¼ cup of oil. Season with S & P.
Spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a bowl, combine the yogurt with the ginger, garlic, curry powder and remaining ¼ cup of oil. Season with
S & P. Add the chicken and toss until thoroughly coated. Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables.
Roast for 40 minutes. Pour off any accumulated liquid and continue roasting for another 10 to 20 minutes until vegetables are tender and chicken is browned.
Serve with rice or Israeli couscous, which worked brilliantly for me.

For what it's worth, the pan looks pretty with squash offering an orange element, the Brussels Sprouts a green contribution, the red onion thrown in for fun and games, and the chicken getting nice the brown so set off everything appealingly,

People say the dish begs to be served with rice,  Heartlessly I ignored the rice and went with Israeli couscous instead.  I prefer the couscous.  Others may prefer the couscous,  Whatever.  Won't make a difference so don't worry.

Along with the chicken and vegetables, I served a sweet salad with sliced cherry tomatoes, slicedArenian cukes, and diced celery.  A nice vinaigrette perked the veggies up, making the guests smile.  Dessert was a mint panna cotta with fruit on top.  Pretty darned wonderful, they all said, although I retain a preferece for the basil, which had made the its panna cotta so outstanding.  Lesson learned.  Don't use mint when basil's so much better.

So now we're fixed for Moroccan chicken recipes for a while.  Upward and onward to different menus.  Let us hear from you. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Braised Moroccan chicken with preserved lemon and green olives

Oh dear.  I've been absent from this blog for far too long.  A tip-off that I haven't spent much time in the kitchen.  I was invited out for Thanksgiving, so didn't even have a chance to cook then.

But tonight I attended a winsome potluck dinner party hosted by the parents of Sarah Shatz, the photographer for the wonderful new cookbook from the folks.   If you haven't already found that website, go to it right now.  The premise of the first two years was that each week the authors invited readers to submit a recipe on a particular food--your favorite artichoke dish, or chicken thighs, or chocolate chip cookies, or...well, you get my drift, right?

So this new book, Food52 Cookbook, is a compilation of the weekly winners of the first year.  Cleverly organized by season.   Sarah's parents put together a menu and then offered about a dozen dishes that guests signed up to bring.  As tonight's entry indicates, I chose braised Moroccan chicken and olives.

Like many people, the first time I make a recipe I follow it, well, more or less follow it, omitting ingredients that are not to my taste.  But today I followed the recipe slavishly to maintain the spirit of the evening.  And I'm very glad I did so because the result was delicious, not to mention very beautiful.

Tonight it was served on couscous prepared by Annette Grant, and they were flavorful.  Perfect accompaniment.

So here's the recipe should you be so inclined to go Moroccan some night.  And if you get the book, the recipe start on p. 125.  Enjoy!

Serves 4
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2.5 pounds chicken legs and thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup small diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/2 cup green olives, rinsed
  • 2 preserved lemons, pulp removed; rind cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet or over medium high heat. Dry the chicken pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Place them in the skillet in batches and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
  2. Add the onion to the skillet and cook until slightly softened. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper and stir together. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet so that 2/3 of the chicken is submerged. Add the saffron and stir to combine. Bring liquid to a simmer, cover the skillet and simmer on medium low heat 20-25 minutes. Add the olives and preserved lemons. Cover and cook another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and turn the heat to high. Cook for another 6-8 minutes until sauce reduces slightly. Stir in the cilantro. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Serve chicken on a bed of couscous. Spoon sauce over the top. Garnish with cilantro.