Monday, October 6, 2008

Moroccan Chicken

Yum, yyyyuuummmmmm, YUM! Well if you couldn't tell, we really enjoyed this dish. I found the recipe on epicurious while searching for recipes that have chickpeas. Ironically, I forgot to add the chickpeas. The name lead me to do a bit of research on Moroccan food. It appears that this is actually based on traditional Moroccan cooking! I was so impressed. All of the spices, and cooking method for this particular cut of meat checked out to be fairly authentic. I used chicken thighs, and the less ideal cuts of meat are cooked in a Tajine (large pot) in a sauce, creating a "stew". Very cool.

All of the flavors in this are very familiar to American tastes, so if you are even a bit adventurous, this would be worth trying. One word of warning, it is very aromatic, so crack open a window while cooking!

I made this while Greg was at work, and he had a re-heated serving once he got home (10pm..better than midnight!). It was even great re-heated. I was a bit nervous to see if he would like it or not, but after one bite he started getting his tell tale "let's make this one again" smile.

Recipe: (doubled version from epicurious, serves 4-5)

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 pkg chicken thighs or meat with bone and skin (~2.5lbs)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp lemon zest, fine
3 tsp flour
3 C. chicken broth
2 TBS honey
1 C. chickpeas
2 C. rice, cooked
1/2 onion, chopped

-Cook rice as directed by package. If you are using dry grains, when there is about 20 minutes left on the rice, start cooking the chicken. If you are using instant rice, start cooking when you return the chicken to the pan after searing (step 5).

-Heat oil in a very large skillet (large enough so that the pieces of meat do not touch) around medium high to high. I actually had to use two skillets, splitting the ingredients in half into each.

-Season chicken with sea salt and ground black pepper. Sear skin side down.

-Remove chicken, set aside.

-Reduce heat to medium, add chopped onion, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, lemon zest & flour. Stir to create a paste. About 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and honey. Stir to combine. The sauce will be very thin and water like at this point.

-Add the chicken, skin side up. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes, until cooked through. Leave uncovered so the sauce can reduce.

-Once the chicken is cooked, remove from pan. Add chickpeas and continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes.

-Serve chicken over rice. Pour sauce with chickpeas on top of chicken.