Food Glorious Food: Moroccan Chicken
Following on from my rather sombre post yesterday, I thought I’d cheer everyone up again – by feeding you!
I’ve made this dish for just about everybody who has ever visited us in Spain, and it’s been a winner every time. I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for some time, but for one reason or other I haven’t got round to it, but I’m not going to selfishly keep it to myself any longer. This is for you, Cathy – as promised!
The beauty of this dish is that you can do the preparation in advance, so that when your guests arrive, you’ll have plenty of time to relax with them, (enjoying a glass of wine), before you knock their socks off with a delicious dinner!
I love cooking and make most of my meals from scratch. For me, this dish is made all the sweeter by using lemons, oranges, almonds and mint growing in the garden. I’m pretty confident that you’ll love it, too – even if you don’t have your own orange tree to hand! :)
Let’s get cooking!
To make this tangy, lip-smacking, taste-bud-tingling treat for two people, you’ll need:
2 medium chicken breasts (skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces)
I medium onion (peeled and chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (peeled and crushed)
2 large oranges (juiced – I also use any bits of crushed fruit)
1 large lemon (juiced – I also use any bits of crushed fruit)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons of chopped dates (take out the stone and cut into thirds)
1 tablespoon of almond nuts (chopped in half, if you prefer)
1 level teaspoon of ground cinnamon spice
Up to ¼ teaspoon of hot chilli powder (according to taste)
Handful of fresh mint leaves (chopped)
A few whole black peppercorns (optional)
Here’s what you do:
Put the diced chicken pieces and the chopped onion into a shallow dish.
In a plastic measuring jug, juice the oranges and lemon, adding any bits of crushed fruit. Stir in the crushed garlic, olive oil, cinnamon, chilli powder and half of the chopped mint, to combine the ingredients together. You should end up with between 300-400 mls of liquid.
Now, pour the juice mixture over the chicken and onions, add the chopped dates, nuts and whole black peppercorns.
Cover the dish with cling-film, pop in the fridge and leave the chicken to marinate for anything from 10 minutes to a couple of hours.
When you’re ready to start cooking, pick out the individual pieces of chicken with a pair on tongs, and gently fry them on a medium heat in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. (Make sure you have picked out every last piece of chicken from the marinade). Turn the chicken pieces and when they are just starting to brown slightly, add all the citrus liquid mixture to the frying pan.
Your dinner is now less than ten minutes from being ready!
Turn up the heat under the pan, and bring the mixture to the boil. Allow to simmer and as it does so, the mixture will begin to thicken, making the most delicious tangy sauce. If you need to thicken the sauce a little more, just turn up the heat.
Stir in the remainder of the fresh chopped mint and serve immediately.
I usually serve Moroccan chicken with brown rice, but it’s just as delicious if you team it up with cous-cous. There will be enough for two people using this quantity of ingredients. I tend to use one medium chicken breast per person and adjust the amount of ingredients to personal taste. It’s always best to have a spare orange or lemon to add to the juice mix, just in case you need a bit more liquid. If you love dates, put a few more in – they go wonderfully sticky. If you don’t have dates you can use sultanas instead. When cooking for more than two people, I’ve been known to use the juice of a couple of limes, as well.
The main thing is, have the confidence to alter this dish to suit yourself.
If you enjoy cooking (or eating), you might like to try these recipes: