I feel like I’ve been packing and unpacking for months! In fact, I have. You can imagine how this perpetual upheaval can wreak havoc on one’s eating habits, not to mention the neglect of a new blog. With our kitchen from DC finally unpacked and put away in our new home in Atlanta, we were finally going to have a home cooked meal. After all those nights of eating out and heating up frozen meals, what was the first dish my husband suggested? Moroccan Chicken with Apricot Couscous.
This is one of those magical dishes during preparation that fills your entire house with exotic aromas dancing from the kitchen. Close your eyes for a moment and you can almost see the spice souks of Morocco with rows of vibrantly colored and aromatic spices lining the market alleys.
For much the same reason that I love Turkish and Lebanese food, I love the abundance of full bodied spices that are used in North African cooking. This dish is not Moroccan in the purist sense, it’s really more adapted to what I had available in my kitchen while keeping many of those great Moroccan flavors intact. The result is a dish packed with flavor that will arouse your senses and satisfy your soul.
Moroccan Chicken with Apricot Couscous
Recipe Type: Entree
Serves: 5 people
This is one of those magical dishes during preparation that fills your entire house with exotic aromas dancing from the kitchen. Close your eyes for a moment and you can almost see the spice souks of Morocco with rows of vibrantly colored and aromatic spices lining the market alleys. Adapted from Tyler Florence, [url href=”http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/chicken-tagine-with-green-olives-and-preserved-lemon-recipe.html?oc=linkback” target=”_blank”]Chicken Taine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemons[/url]
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or less, if you like less heat)
- 1/4 tsp whole cloves
- 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sautéing
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 large pinch saffron
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 5 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large lemon, juice
- 1 large lemon, zest
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
- 1 cup good chicken stock
- [b]Apricot Couscous[/b]
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 1/2 cup chicken stock, hot
- 10 dried apricots, finely chopped
- 2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 orange, juiced
- 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- In a skillet over medium heat, toast the first 6 ingredients until they start to smoke. Remove from heat and grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder or coffee grinder.
- In a large bowl, add the oil, spice mix, garlic, ginger, cilantro, saffron, salt and pepper. Mix to a paste.
- Add chicken, rubbing the marinade over all the pieces. Cover and refrigerate for two hours to overnight.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot or pan over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the chicken skin side down and brown on both sides, approximately 5 minutes per side. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the bay leaves, lemon juice, lemon zest, olives, and chicken stock. Cover tightly and cook over medium low heat for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove bay leaves and discard. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Place the couscous in a medium bowl; pour the hot stock over it and stir to combine. Cover and let sit undisturbed for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Uncover and fluff with a fork.
- Add the apricots, scallions, and orange juice; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Spoon the chicken over the couscous with apricots. Spoon over the sauce from the pan. Serve and enjoy!
Serving size: 4