Monday, January 30, 2012

Morrocan chicken

Hi all,

This super yummy recipe diverges from I consider "traditional" boonies fare. It is based on this recipe from Bon Appetit. It may seem exotic, but with the exception of the spices, almost everything in it is probably already in your pantry and freezer. I've adjusted the recipe to my tastes by adding more spice and some dried fruit, and leaving out some of the onions. I also use one of the value packs of chicken that comes with 8 thighs and 2 breasts, rather than 8 thighs and 8 drumsticks.

Don't be afraid of the spices in this recipe - it adds so much flavour, but it's not "hot" at all. Spices may be expensive to begin with, but as long as you're not cooking like this every day, I think it's a manageable expense. Don't bother with the fancy out-of-the-ordinary spices (like Hungarian sweet paprika) in the original recipe. Your everyday spices will work just fine.

This recipe calls for an eggplant, which is a delicious luxury if you can get it, but it doesn't store very well. If you manage to pick up a nice, fresh eggplant during your shopping trip, try to make this recipe right away (within a day or two). There are some tips for freezing eggplant on the interwebs, but I suspect the poor thing will be significantly worse for wear if you freeze and thaw it. Although I love it in this recipe, it's ok to leave it out if you don't have it. You could even try it with something less exotic, like zucchini.

First, if you did manage to get a decent eggplant, chop it up into 1" cubes and toss it with some olive oil. Spray a cooking sheet with olive oil, spread the eggplant cubes on it, and pop it in a hot oven (400°F) for about 20 minutes. The eggplant will brown and get this delicious creamy texture.

Next, slice up one large onion and 4 or 5 cloves of garlic and saute them together with some olive oil in a large, deep pan (I use a big wok) over medium heat. Once they've softened, add all of your spices. This will make the onions lovely and fragrant. Stir for a minute, then add a large can of tomatoes, 1 cup of water, and 3 tbsp of lemon juice. Bring this mixture to a boil and add your chicken pieces. I like to heap a bit of the sauce on top of each piece of meat so it gets all the benefit of the flavours. Turn the heat down to medium low, cover, and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over about half way through.

While that's cooking, coarsely chop some dried apricots and/or some dried, unsweetened cranberries and toss that in with the chicken.

Finally, take your eggplant out of the oven and toss it in with the chicken when it's nearly done, mixing gently. You can garnish this with toasted, slivered almonds, fresh cilantro and serve it with rice and a nice salad or steamed greens (don't forget to eat green things!).

Here is my modified ingredients list:

1 large eggplant, chopped into 1" cubes
1 value pack of chicken, deboned and skinned (roughly 8 thighs and 2 breasts)
1 large onion, sliced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 tbsp paprika
0.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp turmeric
1.5 tsp ground coriander
1.5 tsp whole fennel seeds
several turns of fresh ground pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
0.5 tsp ground ginger
1 large (28 oz.) can of diced tomatoes
1 cup water
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup dried apricots and/or unsweetened cranberries

slivered almonds and fresh cilantro (optional) for garnish.

No comments:

Post a Comment