Moroccan Inspiration

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It’s really not Moroccan or Italian or anything but my creation, but I guarantee yumminess.  Go ahead, give my recipe a try.

Recipe for Moroccan Inspired Chicken

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F

Ingredients:  (note, this isn’t particular at all, use what you have, improvise)

  • Chicken: I happen to like dark meat, so I love thighs and drumsticks. They have so much more flavor and are moist. In the photo above, I used thighs.  Tonight I used thigh/leg combos.  Use what you want. Wash and pat dry.
  • Onion: I usually quarter them or cut them into eighths.  Your choice on whether you want to break them up or not.  Depending on the size of your pan, you can use two onions.
  • Carrots:  about 3 or 4, cut into bit sized pieces.
  • Cherry heirloom tomatoes (about 10) or one sliced tomato.
  • Fennel (finocchio):  Remove the fronts, the hard outer leaves and the inner core and slice.  Again, it’s not something that has to be precise.
  • Red Pepper: One is probably enough. Sliced.
  • Myer Lemon: Do not peel. Cut them in half and remove the seeds.  Slice the halves really thin, then cut the sliced pieces in half.
  • A handful of Capers, rinsed.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Use a good one, there are many out there.  I use Fratelli Colletti which is from Caltabellotta in Sicily (where I have visited, but that’s another post)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Several pinches of Fiori di Finocchio (fennel pollen) which you can get on Amazon if you can’t get to Panzano to visit Dario Checchini (the Butcher of Tuscany)
  • A scant dusting of red pepper (Caynenne)
  • Garlic – about 4 large cloves.
  • Tomato paste – from a tube as you will need only 4 to 5 squeezes.

Assembly:

  • Brown the chicken skin side down in olive oil on the stove on medium heat.  I use a cast iron pan because it goes easily into the oven and cleans up is easy.
  • When the chicken is golden brown, turn it over and let it keep cooking.
  • Immediately add the onion.  Either keep the quarters intact or pull them apart. Just spread them throughout the pan. Not on the chicken, beside it. Keep browning. If you need more olive oil, add it.
  • Now you can add the carrots, fennel, tomatoes and red pepper, being careful not to cover the chicken.
  • Add 3/4 of the Myer lemon pieces, not covering the chicken.
  • Put the remaining lemon pieces in your hand and squeeze over the chicken.  Then add the squeezed lemon bits to the mixture that is in the pan, but don’t put the pieces on the chicken.
  • Squirt some tomato paste – about 4 to 5 squirts (each about an inch long) over the ingredients but not the chicken.
  • Drizzle a bit of olive oil over everything, including the chicken.  Don’t drown it, just a slight drizzle.
  • Using a garlic press,  add 4 cloves of garlic – sprinkling over everything, including the chicken
  • Add the capers.  Sprinkle throughout, even over the chicken.
  • Throw in a pinch of salt over the ingredients and the chicken
  • Add several pinches of fennel pollen, making sure to put on the chicken and the rest of the ingredients.
  • At this point your oven should be preheated to 375 degrees.
  • Put the pan with all the ingredients into the oven on the middle rack and back for 30 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, open the oven and give the ingredients a stir, careful not to stir the chicken!
  • Put back in the oven for another 30 minutes.  You can check on this every so often and give the non-chicken ingredients a stir if they are browning too much.
  • After 30 minutes, turn on the broiler for approximately 3-5 minutes – until it resembles the photo above.
  • Serve piping hot.
  • Leftovers will warm up nicely the next day.
  • Enjoy!

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