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 moroccan chicken

This is a spectacularly delicious chicken dish.  It can be made with lamb or meatless.  Using seven vegetables brings good luck.  I used parsnips, butternut squash, onions, tomatoes, turnips, zucchini and carrots.  Feel free to put together any combination you want.  And the quantities I used in the recipe are totally open to modification.  I used a flavorful homemade organic chicken broth but store bought chicken broth or vegetable broth will work just fine.  Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend that is sweeter than some of the other blends.  It contains cinnamon, ginger, cumin,, clove, coriander, bay leaf and chili.  I also use a traditional Moroccan curry blend called Ras el Hanout.  It contains turmeric, white pepper, aniseed, cardamom cloves, all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and ginger.  Some recipes include saffron but I don’t think it stands up with all the other spices.  I prefer to use saffron by itself. 

When I make this dish I serve it with rice instead of couscous which would be the traditional accompaniment.  But I just found a smoked basmati rice which is delicious with fried onions and barberries.  For 6 people I cook the cups of  rice as directed and then take out a 1/4 of the rice and add a  pinch of saffron that has been steeped in a TBS of hot water.  To the rest of the rice I add a 1/4 cup of  barberries that have also steeped in a little hot water (draining the water) and add a medium onion that has been diced and fried until beginning to brown.  I serve the barberry rice on a platter surrounded by the saffron rice.

SEVEN VEGETABLE MOROCCAN CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

8 chicken thighs with bones and skin

4-6 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup flour

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

2 parsnips peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 large onion cut into small dice

1 small turnip or part of a rutabaga chopped into 1-2  inch dice

1 cup butternut squash cut into 1-2  inch dice

1/2 pound zucchini, either the tiny zucchini cut into 1 inch pieces or a larger one cut into 1/2 slices

1 can chickpeas

1/4  lb.  sliced dried apricots

2 garlic cloves, crushed.

2-3 TBS garam marsala

1 TBS Ras el Hanout (Moroccan blend of spices)

1/4 pound slivered almonds

Harissa  (This is a spicy  red pepper blend that serves as a condiment. It can be found in Middle Eastern section of Wegmans or from a specialty grocer.)

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Dredge the chicken in flour and fry in olive oil until brown on both sides.  Set aside
  2. Fry onions in olive oil until soft and beginning to brown,  set aside.  Then fry turnip, parsnip, carrot   and butternut squash in batches until beginning to brown and smell aromatic.  Set aside
  3. Fry spices mixtures for three or four minutes,  stirring until aromatic.
  4. Add broth to frying pan along with tomatoes and bring to boil.
  5. Combine the vegetables, chickpeas, apricots and chicken and bring to simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and more curry seasonings to taste.
  6. it is best if the dish cools overnight in the fridge and is reheated one or two days later.
  7. Last minute  lightly brown almonds  in butter.
  8. Also last minute fry the zucchini until barely cooked in olive oil and add garlic for the last minute, stirring it evenly into the zucchini.
  9. Remove the chicken from fridge and carefully spoon of the solidified oil from the top.  Heat it up.  When simmering add the zucchini.  Check for seasoning .
  10. Serve on large platter sprinkling with almonds.  Serve Harissa on the side.
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