Saturday, June 27, 2009

Moroccan Chicken, without much Moroccan

Firstly, some housekeeping: Do not forget to enter the Garden & Gun giveaway at Blushing Hostess Entertains or the Old Bay giveaway here at Blushing Hostess Cooks. Both are worth a second to leave your name.

Perhaps the most ringing endorsement of this dish is the photo I did not show you: The two year old hand that reached on to the plate to swipe a piece of chicken as I was taking this picture. That shot is in her baby book, and privately dear to me. This chicken will be very dear also as it is officially the fourth thing my Daughter eats.

This recipe appeared in Bon Appetit's Fast, Easy, Fresh column recently and it is two of three: easy enough and fresh. One hour to put it on the table though, in a working household, though, is unfortunately not fast. And while the magazine is referring, maybe, to 25 minutes of active time in their assessment, I differ in opinion: At the very least, you need to keep an eye on the simmer rate and turn the chicken occasionally.

They call it braised. I venture to guess some cooks will disagree as it is forced which is indeed the very antithesis of a braise.

Now, calling it Moroccan is a rough approximation. Likely, to be more genuine, had you preserved a couple of lemons two weeks before and used as many fresh warm spices as you could here, it would have smacked of more authenticity. Preserved lemons are just washed, cut and jarred lemons covered in kosher salt and allowed to sit in the fridge for two weeks at least. Do a few at once and you are in better stead. As it is, the dish is merely continental - not that there's anything wrong with that.

Try it if you have a hour; hoping you are happily surprised that your children love it.

Moroccan Chicken with Green Olives and Lemon
Adapted from this Bon Appetit recipe
4 servings

2 lemons
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, halved, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 4 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
1/2 cup green olives
Accompaniment: Toasted garlic bread croutons and a huge spinach salad.

Cut 1 lemon into 8 wedges. Squeeze enough juice from second lemon to measure 2 tablespoons; set wedges and juice aside. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper; saute until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the next 5 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Add lemon wedges. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, turning halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and debone, place on your platter in some pretty fashion.

Add olives and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to skillet. Increase heat to high and boil uncovered to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over chicken.


vicki archer said...

Sounds absolutely delicious - I can understand why a little hand just had to take a piece....xv

Pink of Perfection said...

I've had my eye on this recipe for awhile, and I love the idea of wee one's hand reaching up for a bite! But seriously, what were they thinking when they called an hour-long dish "fast"? ;)