Monday, June 20, 2005

Passport Stamp-Morocco

It has been awhile since the first Eat With Me special event—Cooking Without Borders (still don’t like the name, any suggestions?). So, it’s time for the next event.

Cooking Without Borders gives this blogs readers an opportunity to make the same recipe on the same evening and to post their feedback, allowing for an improved cooking experience in the future.

I will post the recipe below and the shopping list, as well as any tips I have to offer.

This special event will be scheduled for next Monday, June 27, 2005. If you are unavailable, perhaps Sunday or Tuesday. I’d recommend shopping over the weekend, the following recipe is very easy, but has some ‘exotic’ ingredients. You might need one or two trips to one or two grocery stores.

Quick Tagine-Style Chicken
(4 servings)
A tagine (or tajine) is any of a various Moroccan and North African stews featuring meat or poultry gently simmered with vegetables, olives, preserved lemons, garlic and spices like cinnamon, cumin, ginger, pepper, saffron and tumeric. Tagines are often served with couscous. (Food Lovers Companion, 3rd ed.)
A tagine is also a style of cookware designed for this same style dish. Although pretty and I’m sure practical, not something I have room for in my kitchen.

This tagine comes from our dear friend Rachel Ray. So you know what that means…30 minutes until you eat! Rachel does not used preserved lemons or olives. I’m sure both would be delightful if added. If you would like to pay homage to the preserved lemons, perhaps some lemon wedges on the side of the plate as a garnish.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cracked
1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large bite-size pieces
1 ½ teaspoons grill seasoning blend (Rachel recommends: Montreal Seasoning by McCormick)
1 large yellow skinned onion, quartered and sliced
¼ cup golden raisins
2 cups chicken stock/broth

Spice blend:
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon turmeric
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon

1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
2 scallions, finely chopped

Chopped cilantro leaves
Finely chopped scallions

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, in a slow stream, and add smashed garlic. Season the chicken with grill seasoning blend. Scatter chicken around the pan in an even layer. Cook chicken pieces 2 minutes on each side to brown, then add the onions, raisins and stock. Mix remaining spices in a small dish and scatter over the pot. Cover and reduce to moderate heat. Cook 7 or 8 minutes.

To prepare the couscous, bring chicken stock to a boil in a medium pot. Add couscous, extra-virgin olive oil and scallions and remove the couscous from the stove immediately. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.

Uncover chicken and cook another 2 to 3 minutes to thicken slightly. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and serve chicken on a bed of couscous. Garnish with chopped cilantro and scallions. (and lemon wedges!)

You may want to serve some pita or flat bread on the side. Just warm in a 250 oven for ten minutes.

One note: We've made this with a pound of chicken thighs. They are cheaper and just as easy to make. Just brown for a few minutes on each side before adding the onions and raisins.

Here is your Shopping List:
olive oil
1 head of garlic
1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Seasoning by McCormick)
1 large yellow onion
golden raisins (small box/bag)
chicken stock/broth (quart)
ground cumin
sweet paprika
ground coriander
ground cinnamon
couscous (1 box)
scallions/green onions (1 bunch)
cilantro (1 bunch)
lemon (optional)
pita/flat bread (optional)

Hopefully your "pantry" has most, if not al lthe spices and olive oil, so you don't have to splurge to get them all at once. If you have most of them, this can be a very affordable meal.

OK, this entry is getting way to long. In the next day or two I'll post an option or two for a side dish.

Questions? Comments?



The Kara said...

LOVE a Tagine! AND... the next time you come to NYC we have to go to my fave Morroccan restaurant named... you guessed it Tagine - it's on 9th Avenue and 40th Street (complete with live band & occasional belly dancing). As for the Tagine Cooking Event you know I'll be there - but I'm not a big couscous fan so I'll be cooking the chicken and adding the pita bread to fill out the meal a bit. Also, at the restaurant they have great seasoned carrots as appetizers or this cool kind of lentil spread which is a nice pre-cursor to the Tagine itself. "See" you Monday!

The Kara said...

Cilantro - not just a garnish! Had fun cooking this dish - met all my 'easy' requirements (I could make it) and it was quick enough that I could do it while throwing in a load of laundry. I'm not big on raisins or couscous so ditched both of those. Completely took the tip on the pita and loved it... also the sauce is so good that any other veggie side you add will also soak up the goodness. I didn't have 'sweet paprika' - just regular paprika - does that make much of a difference? Wound up adding more eventually to spice it up. Good Call!

Terri L. in WI said...

I decided to do a bit of mall shopping after work tonight, but still had plenty of time to make this recipe. Sooo easy! I whoops-ed at the beginning... started cooking the chicken before adding the garlic. No biggie, seemed to work just fine. I didn't make couscous, but had intended to grill pita to have along with the chicken. Unfortunately, when I opened the package of pita bread, the bread had started to mold! So disgusting. Quite upsetting, really, as I was looking forward to the pita, but I substituted whole wheat bread, grilling it in a pan with some olive oil and it worked quite well. No side dish for me. No veggie's either.... hmmm... haven't quite gotten my four food groups in today. Whoops! Still, it was fabulous! I opened a bottle of wine that is new to me, Barefoot California Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite inexpensive and very tasty. Still enjoying it... and a bit tipsy, I might add. :) A great evening of food and wine. When can we do it again??