Sunday, 16 September 2012

A taste of Morocco

In a moment of madness, I accidentally let slip to Harry that we were going here for his birthday in November. So, it seemed only fitting to make something Moroccan for dinner this evening.

This is another one of Lindsey Bareham's "Dinner tonight" recipes, and as usual I've borrowed the photo for my post. I completely forgot to photograph the finished dish until I'd already eaten half, and it was looking less than photogenic then!

Ingredients (serves 3)
8 medium-sized tomatoes
splash of olive oil
4 large garlic cloves
6 - 8 chicken thigh fillets
1 large orange
glass white wine, approx 200ml
2 medium onions
generous pinch saffron threads soaked in 1 tbsp boiling water
squeeze of runny honey
25g coriander
150g cous cous
chicken stock cube (I use Oxo)
1 onion
scattering of flaked almonds
1. Preheat oven to 180c. Cut the tomatoes in half and put on a baking tray with the cut side facing up. Slice the garlic into small pieces and push into the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Leave to roast for about 30 mins.
2. Slice the chicken into thick strips and place in a dish. Using a potato peeler, slice two pieces of zest from the orange. Dice one very finely and slice the other and add to the chicken, along with the juice from the orange. Add the white wine and the saffron/water mixture. Mix the chicken in the marinade and leave.

3. Slice the onions very thinly. Fry half the onions until caramelised and set aside. Then, use the other onion and fry over a low heat so that they soften but do not colour.
4. Add the chicken (without the liquid) into the onions. Turn the heat up and cook, stirring constantly, until the chicken is sealed. Add the salt and pepper, honey and marinade to the pan.
5. Take the tomatoes from the oven and pass through a fine sieve. Press down firmly to get all the juice and pulp from the tomatoes, leaving just the seeds and skins. Stir into the chicken mixture and leave to simmer.

6. While the sauce is thickening, add the flaked almonds to a dry pan and lightly toast them. Watch carefully as they burn very easily!
7. Add about 200ml of boiling water to the stock cube and then stir into the cous cous and cover with foil or a lid. Leave for five minutes, then use a fork to fluff the grains. Add the caramelised onions and almonds to the cous cous. 
8. Serve the cous cous mixture with the chicken mixture and a scattering of chopped coriander. Season to taste.
The orange worked surprisingly well in this dish. I was a little sceptical at first as I thought with the honey and roast tomatoes, it would be too sweet. Instead it was very fresh and the hint of garlic and saffron balanced the sweetness. It didn't quite measure up to the tagines I've had in Morocco in the past, but it was just the thing to get us in the holiday mood.

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