Fleur de Lis

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Moroccan Chicken with Couscous

Once again, I'll comment that I love the aroma of all these wonderful spices as they cook with the chicken.  This would be a great dish to prepare for a casual "friends drop over for a weekend supper" meal.  It serves 4, but can easily be doubled or even tripled.

The base:
2 t. paprika (I use Hungarian)
2 t. ground coriander
1t. ground cumin
½ t. cayenne
2 T. olive oil
4 large chicken breast halves on the bone with skin

The sauce:
2 medium onions, diced
2 T. minced ginger
2 T. minced garlic
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 cup white wine
2 small cans tomato paste
4 cups chopped tomatoes (you can use 15 oz. of canned tomatoes)
2 cup chicken broth (unsalted)
2 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans (or white northern beans or chickpeas)
4 T. honey
2 lemons cut into wedges
4 T. chopped parsley
4 cups of baby spinach

On the side:
4 rounds whole-wheat pita bread
Olive oil spray
Onion salt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Put the base spices in a large sauté pan.  Add the olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon.  Spread the spices around the surface of the pan.  Heat on medium high and add the chicken, skin-side down.  Brown the chicken for 5 minutes. Don't move it around.  Just let it sit while the spices and the chicken cook.  That way you'll get a nice brown surface to the chicken and much of the spice mixture will stick to the chicken.

Take the chicken out of the spice mixture and put it in a 9 x 13" baking dish.  Put it in your oven to roast, bone-side down for 30 minutes.  You'll finish the rest of the sauce while the chicken cooks.

Add the onion to the spices left in the pan.  Stir to mix the onion with the spices.  Now add the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and cinnamon.  Cook this for about a minute on medium.  You just want to get the spices to "open up."  Add the white wine and the tomato paste.  Stir to break up the paste.  Then add the chopped tomatoes, broth, beans, honey and all the lemon wedges.  Stir to mix this all up.  The sauce will continue to cook on medium low until the chicken is done.  (About 20 minutes more.)

When the chicken is done, remove from oven and turn off the sauce.  Mix in the spinach.  The heat of the sauce will wilt the spinach.
Spray the pita bread with the olive oil spray and sprinkle on the onion salt to your taste.  Heat the pita bread in the oven while you are plating the dish, for about 3-4 minutes.

Personal preference of whether you want the sauce on the top or underneath the chicken.  If you put it underneath, the chicken will stay more crisp.  Top with chopped fresh parsley.  Cut the pita bread rounds into wedges and serve on the side along with couscous.

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