Recipe: Moroccan-ish Chicken

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I have this tendency to doctor up/butcher recipes on the first try. A lot of times, this turns out poorly, especially when I’m baking (which is why I rarely bake other than easy/simple pancake, muffin, and banana/pumpkin bread recipes). Sometimes, it turns out perfectly, which was the case with this Moroccan chicken.

I was originally inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe that I had been meaning to try forever. But, it was a slow cooker recipe, and I didn’t have the time. And, it sounded like the amount of spices that it called for was way too small to flavor the whole dish (case in point, many reviewers of the recipe said that the dish turned out to be bland). And, I didn’t have golden raisins. But I DID have dried sour cherries?

So, I kind of winged it here, doing a classic braise method with the chicken (season and brown chicken, remove, sauté veggies and aromatics, add liquid and bring to a simmer, add chicken back in and simmer on low until chicken is cooked and the flavors get to know each other). The result was a surprisingly delicious, flavorful, hearty-but-not-heavy dish that I will gladly make again and again.

Ingredients:

One package boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Cumin

Cinnamon

Coriander

Curry powder

Salt

Pepper

One red onion, sliced

Four large carrots, sliced

Minced ginger

Minced garlic

Handful or so of dried sour cherries (I got mine at Trader Joe’s. Could also use dried cranberries or raisins)

Fresh cilantro and sliced almonds (for garnish)

Buttered quinoa (for GF) or couscous, for serving

Directions:

Preheat a dutch oven or high-sided skillet over medium/high heat.

Make a spice rub with cumin, cinnamon, coriander, curry powder, and freshly-ground salt and pepper. (I’d say about a tablespoon of each spice, with a few healthy grinds of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.)

Coat chicken thighs with the spice mixture, add a glug of olive oil to the preheated dutch oven, and brown chicken in two batches for a few minutes per side, until nicely browned. (Chicken does not need to be cooked through.) Remove chicken to a plate.

Add a bit more olive oil to the pan, and add sliced red onion and sliced carrots. Saute for a couple of minutes.

Add garlic and ginger, and saute for one more minute. Add about three cups of water and stir, scraping bottom of pan to deglaze.

Add chicken thighs from the plate along with any juices that have accumulated. Bring liquid up to a boil, then lower to a simmer, partially cover the dutch oven with a lid, and simmer for as long as you like. I think I did about an hour, but I bet 30 mins would be plenty.

Right before serving, add dried cherries and simmer a couple of minutes longer so fruit can plump up.

Serve ladled over quinoa or couscous, garnished with fresh chopped cilantro and sliced almonds.

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