Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Moroccan Chicken

I am having the BEST week, because I’m off work and have all day to shop for food and then cook that food. And! I have someone to actually cook for. I have a friend staying with me right now, and she has travelled all over the world. I’ve been listening to her stories all week and can’t get enough. It’s basically my dream life right now.

Final Plating! 
In the spirit of international travel, I decided to make an adaptation of Moroccan chicken for her. This is an ADAPTATION- the inspiration of the recipes came from Canadian Living (not Moroccan) and (also not Moroccan), so I cannot vouch for the authenticity of it. I would love to go to Morocco and just spend a year there, learning how to cook and finding myself and such. An “Eat, Pray, Love” experience, just without the yoga and the men. Sadly, I have responsibilities such as a mortgage and a dog, so that’s off the table for now and I’m left with only the “facts” of the Internet.

Because I am a lover (read: sucker) of all things that can be put in the kitchen, I purchased a tagine last year as well, although I’m too scared to put it on my stovetop. I won’t cook the chicken in that, plus it’s small for an entire meal. (I know it’s designed to go on the stovetop, but I feel like I’m going to burn it or something.) Instead of cooking the chicken in the tagine, I make my couscous in it. That works very well.

This is one of those recipes that taste better the longer you cook it. I suggest chicken thighs, although you can also chop up an entire chicken and use that. So put on some Moroccan music, get out your spices and get ready to thrill your taste buds!

You’ll need:
-Chicken thighs or drumsticks (bone-in)
-Splash of orange juice
Hell yeah, tagine. 
-Half a cup of chicken stock (and we know my homemade snobbery about that, but store bought can work just fine)
-Cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg, salt and pepper (about a teaspoon of each)
-2-4 cloves (optional- if you add them make sure you tell people not to eat them)
-1 onion sliced thinly
-4-6 cloves of garlic chopped finely
-Honey (1 tbsp)

For the couscous:
Browning in the pot
-A box of the couscous and just follow the instructions about how much water
-Golden raisins
-Toasted pine nuts
-Chopped parsley (about two tbsp.)
*Couscous is the easiest and quickest thing in the world to cook. I am a huge supporter of it.

The first thing to do is put a little oil in your chicken pot (just a LITTLE… you aren’t deep-frying anything). Put your onion and garlic in until translucent. Then put in your chicken and brown the skin. You can also remove the skin if you wish. It isn’t going to get crispy because we are braising this, so if that texture will put you off, just take the skin off before you put in the chicken.

When your chicken is browned, add in your spices, the honey, orange juice and stock. Bring to a boil uncovered in your pot and let it reduce a little. Cover and simmer for as long as you like, at least half an hour.

Look at that sexy tagine! 
About ten minutes before you are ready to serve, do the couscous. If you have a tagine, just boil the amount of water you need, add the boiling water to the couscous in the tagine and cover. If you are doing this in a pot, then add your water, bring to a boil and cover. Let it sit for ten minutes. In the meantime, toast your pine nuts and get them ready. After ten minutes, fluff your couscous with a fork and add the nuts, parsley and raisins.

That is it! Within an hour, you too can feel like Elizabeth Gilbert, frolicking around exotic locales and having sex with the residents. Not bad for a Wednesday night! 

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