Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Moroccan Chicken with Squash and Plums

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This recipe is from the Food Network Star winner Amy Finley who I actually wanted to win and did. Sadly, she made the choice to not continue with her show after the first season of The Gourmet Next Door but she did leave me with this favorite Moroccan recipe of hers. Small consolation but consolation nonetheless. 

This dish is quite versatile. I've made it with beef, lamb and chicken and it always came out really great. The other thing is that you don't really need a tangine to make this dish. I just bake it in my turkey roasting pan and it works like a charm. No need to spend a small fortune buying a tangine although it will definitely look more authentic. 

I usually serve this with a couple of side dishes but this time, I went for the simple route and settled for none. My choice of side for this dish though is Batinjaan Zalud which is a cold eggplant relish. I also like to serve this with couscous cooked in broth. 

Moroccan Chicken with Squash and Plums - Adapted*

7 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced plus 2 lemons, 
   quartered, for garnish
1 tsp harissa (recipe follows)
4 skinless chicken thighs, (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup chicken broth
Pinch saffron strands
1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch half moons or chunks
3 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch half moons or chunks
3 medium plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup dried pitted prunes (about 10)
1/4 cup black olives, pitted
Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup almonds
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tsp spice mix (check below)

1. In a medium glass bowl, combine the spice mixture, 2 tablespoons of the 

    olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and harissa. Add the chicken thighs 
    and stir to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at
    least 1 hour for up to 3 hours. 

2. Warm the chicken broth and add the saffron strands. Allow to steep at
    least 1 hour for or up to 3 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the chicken thighs from the 
    marinade. In a deep pot over high heat, brown the chicken thighs on both 
    sides in 2 tablespoons olive oil, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set chicken 
    aside on a plate. 

4. Reduce the heat to medium, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, and 
    saute the onion and garlic until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the 
    chicken thighs and the onions on a roasting pan and add any accumulated 
    juices from the plate. Tuck in the prunes and olives and season well with 
    salt and pepper.  Add the tomato quarters on top of the chicken and pour 
    over the chicken broth and saffron. Cover and place on the bottom rack 
    of the oven. Let cook undisturbed for an hour. 

5. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and bake for another hour or until the 
    chicken is falling off the bone. Transfer to a serving dish. Check for 
    seasoning and adjust with salt. 

6. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat until hot 

    but not smoking. Add the almonds and fry until the skins begin to crackle, 
    about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the almonds and hot oil over the vegetables 
    and chicken on the serving dish. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and 
    serve, spooning over the sauce and garnishing each plate with the lemon 
    quarters. Serve with couscous (recipe follows).

Spice Mixture:
Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cracked black   pepper

Combine the spices in a coffee grinder and grind to a medium-fine powder. Add the kosher salt and pepper. Store in an air-tight container, if not using immediately.

*Food Network Channel, The Gourmet Next Door: Moroccan State of Mind episode

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