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Moroccan Chicken

Recipe: Moroccan Chicken

Remarks:

    I call this Moroccan Chicken because of the spices involved. I didn’t follow the traditional Moroccan cooking methods and there are some ingredients included in Moroccan cuisine that I am not a fan of so I make my adjustments. For example, I abhor chickpeas. My easy substitute is to use white cannellini beans. They may be Italian but that’s close enough to Morocco for me. You can use the chickpeas if you like. There’s just so much flavor wrapped up in this simple recipe that I am hoping you’ll forgive my adjustments. Don’t be scared off by the amount of ingredients. This is one of those recipes that’s a “little bit of this, a little bit of that” and it all comes together to bring about the exotic flavors.

Servings:
Serves 2. Can be doubled or even tripled.

Ingredients:

    The base:
    1 tsp paprika (I use Hungarian)
    1 tsp ground coriander
    ½ tsp ground cumin
    ¼ tsp cayenne
    1 Tbl olive oil

    2 large chicken breast halves on the bone with skin

    The sauce:
    One medium onion diced
    1 Tbl minced ginger (jar ginger will do)
    1 Tbl minced garlic (jar garlic will do)
    ½ tsp red pepper flakes
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    ½ cup white wine
    3 oz tomato paste (1 small can)
    2 cups chopped tomatoes (you can use 15 oz of canned tomatoes)
    1 cup chicken broth (unsalted)
    15 oz can of cannellini beans (or white northern beans or chickpeas)
    2 Tbl honey
    1 lemon cut into wedges
    Optional: 2 Tbl chopped parsley
    Optional: 2 cups of baby spinach

    On the side
    2 rounds whole-wheat pita bread
    Olive oil spray
    Onion salt

Instructions:

    Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

    Put the base spices in a large sauté pan. Add the olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon. Spread them around the surface of the pan. Heat on medium high and add the chicken, skin-side down. Brown the chicken for 5 minutes. Don’t move it around. Just let it sit while the spices and the chicken cook. That way you’ll get a nice brown surface to the chicken and much of the spice mixture will stick to the chicken.

    Take the chicken out of the spice mixture and put it in a 9 X 13” pan. Put it in your oven to roast, bone-side down for 30 minutes. You’ll finish the rest of the sauce while the chicken cooks.

    Add the onion to the spices left in the pan. Stir to mix the onion with the spices. Now add the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and cinnamon. Cook this for about a minute on medium. You just want to get the spices to “open up.” Add the white wine and the tomato paste. Stir to break up the paste. Then add the chopped tomatoes, broth, beans, honey and all the lemon wedges. Stir to mix this all up. The sauce will continue to cook on medium low until the chicken is done. About 20 minutes more.

    When the chicken is done take it out of the oven (Cut open to make sure you have no pink left in the chicken. Smaller breasts might take less time to cook). Turn off the sauce. To make the dish even more colorful and healthy, mix in the spinach. The heat of the sauce will wilt it and you’ll have green bits in your sauce as the spinach collapses.

    Spray the pita bread with the olive oil spray and sprinkle on the onion salt to your taste. Heat the pita bread in the oven while you are plating the dish, about 3-4 minutes.

Serving Suggestions:

    You can decide if you want your sauce on the top or the underneath the chicken. This is just a presentation-style difference. I like mine underneath because I went to the trouble of crisping up the top side of the chicken and I want it to stay that way. Sprinkle on the chopped fresh parsley for color. Cut your pita bread rounds into wedges and serve on the side.

Enjoy the exotic flavors! Cheers! Zola

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