Monday, September 08, 2008

Moroccan Chicken with Apricots

I read this Moroccan Chicken recipe in Cooking Light quite a while ago and at the time, I think I was more drawn to the picture of it than the recipe itself. It just has that look of very hearty flavorful dish. I wrote the recipe down in my notebook, thinking I'd come to it one day. That one day happens to be today!! But as I read through the recipe, it just did not give me the 'it' factor I was hoping for. It sure sounds like a great dish, and examining the recipe, it quite obvious that the apricots is the key ingredient for the dish. Still missing something though. One, spicy heat. Two, something at the end to add some freshness twist to it. Thus, I added red chillies powder and couple cloves to intense the earthy flavor and handful of coriander leaves and few squeeze of lemon juice at the end of cooking.

Like most Moroccan dish, the dish is paired with couscous - which will be super perfect! However, what's the odd, usually there is a box or two in the pantry, but just when I need it, I seem not to have any. Thus, I opted for basmati rice, cooked with pinch of turmeric to give it beautiful color and just a hint of earthy peppery aroma. Toss in some raisins and almonds.

- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1 lbs skinless, boneless chicken (I use thighs and drumsticks)
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup fat free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 can (15 1/2 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, halved
- 1 small yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 tsp chillies powder (optional)
- handful cilantro, chopped (optional)
- lemon juice (optional)
- 2 cloves (optional)

- Heat olive oil in heavy pot. Add chicken to pan, browning all sides. Remove chicken and set aside.
- Add onion to pan, saute until tender. Add ginger, garlic, cumin, salt, coriander, cinnamon, pepper, yellow bell peppers, chillies powder, cloves. Fry until fragrant.
- Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
- Return chicken to pan, bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour.
- Remove chicken from pan, let cool slightly. Coarsely shred chicken to bite sized. Return chicken to pot with chickepas and apricots. Cover and simmer for another 15 min.
- Toss in cilantro leaves. Stir. Remove from heat. Squeeze in some lemon juice right before serving.
The rice is super easy and simple to make. Toss in 1 tbsp of unsalted butter to pot, add in about 1 cup of rice, stir and let it toast for a bit to get nutty flavor. Pour in just a little bit over 1 cup of broth. Cover and let cook for about 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, lift lids, toss in raisins and almonds, stir and fluff rice. Put the lids back on and just let it sits for few more minutes.

Well, it is absolutely a nice dinner. Still on the mild side to our taste, even after the extra hot chilies powder addition. However, I think it can be a good meal to please a crowd. Not too overly spicy, not bland either. Just right smack in the middle. The slight tartness from apricots give a nice contrast to smoky earthy flavor of the dish.

Vik thinks basmati rice is a better pairing than original coucous. His reasoning is that couscous may get mushy, with its tiny grain and gravy-ish chicken. He loves to give random 0.02 cents. To say the least, fragrant basmati rice with sweet plump raisins and almond slivers absolutely do its job complementing this Moroccan Chicken with Apricot dish.


Dee said...

Excellent! I've been doing a lot of similar Moroccan-ish food too :) I've been meaning to throw in some apricots; thanks for reminding me with your beautiful dish!

Maria said...

I love apricots! I am sure they are super tasty in this dish!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Moroccan - excellent. I think I should try this with cous cous because I have an excess of the stuff in my kitchen right now.

CECIL said...

Dee: Thanks!

Maria: Yes, it was really the key for the dish I think.

Short (dis)order cook: I usually have some couscous in my pantry but must have forgot to restock it. I am sure it'll be delicious with couscous.

Apples and Butter said...

I love your Cooking Light recipes. It reminds me to go dig out all of those earmarked magazines...must try to eat healthy!

CECIL said...

Apples&Butter: I only have few copies of CookingLight and been looking through it recently, before it collects anymore dust that it already have. Trying to 'squeeze' in healthier food once a while, ya know? :)