Friday, February 10, 2006

A KINDA MOROCCAN CHICKEN STEW

I'd forgotten how much time this working thing takes up out of your day. Fortunately I still manage to cook half decent meals most nights but it is taking me longer to get it up on the blog. So I apologise now for a short and sweet blurb. It's tough to balance experimenting with dishes and getting dinner on the table too. I'm not complaining though- it's what I signed myself up for in starting this thing. Fortunately I had an early night this week and managed to make a quasi-Moroccan tagine supper. I stewed it for an hour but you could probably do it for less time- as long as the meat is cooked. Serve it with couscous with a handful of pine nuts and raisins thrown in. The leftovers warm up well for lunch the next day.

A quick note on a couple of the ingredients: harissa and pickled lemons. From Tunisia, harissa is a chili paste that traditionally accompanies couscous but can be used to add a kick to anything. It can be found in Middle Eastern markets and increasingly in supermarkets (at least in the UK; I hope the same can be said for the US because it is a great ingredient. If not, try substituting another type of chili paste for an experiment of your own.) The other ingredient is pickled lemons. These lemons have been preserved with a salt/lemon juice mixture. They are used a lot in Moroccan cooking and have a tangy smooth taste. Again I hope that it isn't too difficult to find; there are DIY recipes out there. I recommend Casa Moro cookbook not only for a preserved lemon recipe but also for additional uses for them (and they aren't just for stews). Sorry that the link takes you to Amazon but it was the best link about the book.

Moroccan Style Stew

Serves 4
Ingredients:

4 chicken thighs
1 tsp of each of the following spices: hot paprika, sweet paprika, ground coriander, cumin seeds
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 pickled lemons
14 oz tin of tomatoes (I hope I have the right US measurement- you'll need a standard size tin)
1 tsp harissa
2 tbsp olive oil
optional: two handfuls of chopped button mushrooms


Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the dry spices and fry for 30 seconds or so (you want the spices to warm through and flavour the oil). Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon and onion. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 a tin of water and the harissa. Stir and bring to a boil.

Turn it down to a simmer, cover and cook for 50 minutes. After this time, remove lid and bring back to a boil for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce.

Serve with couscous.

1 comment:

CB said...

Hmmm, one of my favourites. I sometimes add a cinnamon stick, couple of dried apricots and some saffron threads too. I totally agree about this working thing!