I like to be adventurous with my cooking. While it's good to cook 'tried and true' recipes, I think it's even more fun to cook something you've never made before to see how it tastes. Yes, sometimes it can bomb (and you most certainly don't want to do this when you are having company over) but sometimes, you can make something that is so delicious that you surprise yourself. Maybe you find something that calls for ingredients that you would have never dreamed of cooking with. And you make it, and it's GOOD.
So here, let me help you. Escape from your comfort cooking zone. Try something new. You can start with this super simple recipe for Moroccan Chicken with Lemons and Olives with Carrot Salad.
Start first with the chicken because it needs to sit in the spices for an hour. While it "marinates," make the carrot salad. Put the carrot salad in the fridge to chill while you cook the chicken. Alternating the preparation helps get everything ready to be served together at the end.
Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives
2 drumsticks, 2 chicken thighs, skins removed
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup of green olives, pitted
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
1. Mix the paprika, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and ground pepper in a bowl (all spices above the line in the ingredient above.
2. Add in chicken pieces to the spices and mix until the pieces are all covered with the spices. Let stand for an hour to marinate.
**GO MAKE CARROT SALAD RECIPE (below) WHILE CHICKEN SITS IN SPICES**
3. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces. Cook chicken on one side for about 5 minutes until browned.
4. Dice onion and mince garlic.
5. Lower heat to medium-low, flip chicken over and add onion and garlic to the Dutch oven to cook with chicken. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
6. While the chicken and onion are cooking, take 1/2 a lemon, quarter and remove fleshy fruit middle (you can use the lemon you used the juice from in the carrot salad recipe).
7. Slice the lemon rind into strips and slice the olives into quarters.
8. Add the lemon rind strips, olives, raisins and 1 cup of water to the Dutch oven. Stir to mix well. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 45 minutes.
9. After the chicken is done cooking, stir in fresh cilantro. Serve over couscous and with carrot salad recipe below.
Moroccan Carrot Salad
1 lb baby carrots
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/2 of a lemon
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1. Slice carrots in half.
2. Boil carrots in salted water for 20 minutes until tender.
3. Remove carrots from heat, drain and drop carrots into a ice and water bath (known as blanching and shocking vegetables to stop the cooking process immediately).
4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Crush the garlic cloves a little bit so they begin to release flavor. Add the garlic cloves to the oil in the skillet. Heat for two minutes. Remove garlic cloves.
5. Add carrots, cilantro and spices to the skillet. Squeeze 1/2 of lemon over the carrots in the skillet so juices are released.
6. Saute carrots for 6 minutes until flavors are blended and carrots are warmed.
7. Remove carrots from heat. Place in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator (while you go back and finish cooking your chicken!). Serve chilled with chicken.
I hope you enjoy your new flavors in a Moroccan dinner!