The Life and Projects of An Avid Hobbyist

Friday, October 15, 2010

North African Cuisine

I introduced a colleague of mine to my travel agent with whom he later booked a trip to Morocco. Being the thoughtful professional that he is, in exchange, he brought me bags of spices.  Much to my excitement, I got both spices I use regularly and some less-used items.

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laurier = bay leaf
I've traveled to Africa and love the cuisine, mostly stewed meat and grain combos that rely heavily on tomatoes and palm oil.  Despite this orientation, I knew little of the flavors of the northern part of the continent.

As a learning experience for myself and a thank you to his thank you, I prepared for him a Moroccan-inspired chicken dish.  It relies heavily on lovely combined spices and an old legume stand-by.

After figuring out a spice mix, I browned the chicken and then simmered it over the stewed lentils.  I have an issue cooking in small portions.  Please note that you will have spice mix leftover and the recipe below will feed 4-5 adults.


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Chicken Du'moroc avec Lentils
(Moroccan Chicken with Lentils)


Ingredients:

1 tsp paprika
¾ tsp habanero powder
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
¼ tsp allspice
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cloves
1½ tsp cracked pepper
2 Tbsp kosher salt

1 whole chicken (cut up)
1/3 cup canola oil (any cooking vegetable oil will work)

3 cloves garlic, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 pint diced tomatoes
2 tbsp cider vinegar
4 cups water (or chicken/vegetable stock)
1 can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 bag lentils (rinsed)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions:
Clean chicken using your usual method and pat dry. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken.  Cover completely.

In frying pan heat oil and brown chicken pieces on all sides.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Switch the remaining oil to a Dutch oven and fry the vegetables in the remaining oil.  Add the vinegar and scrape the renderings from the bottom of the pan.  Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf and water/stock.  Bring to a boil and add the lentils.  Place the chicken pieces on the top of the mixture.  Simmer until the lentils are tender and the chicken is fully done. 

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Finished dish!

1 comment:

Denise said...

That looks very yummy. I'm going to have to try this.

I have a portion control problem as well. I used to cook for 2 teenage boys that were like feeding a small army. Now that there is just two of us, on my night to cook there is a few leftover nights that follow.