Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Moroccan Chicken Stew with Vegetable Couscous

Couscous makes a light and fluffy bed for this aromatic Moroccan Chicken Stew inspired by the fabulous flavours of North Africa. Fresh onions, garlic, chickpeas, raisins, cilantro, preserved lemon and a fragrant mixture of exotic spices, combine to create a succulent and tender Marrakesh-inspired dish. Overflowing with sensational flavours, this delicious Moroccan Stew is heavenly spooned over a bowl of hot, cooked Roasted Vegetable Couscous for an exceptional meal infused with the spirit of the Kasbah.

Moroccan Chicken Stew
Serves 6

6 skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves minced
1 onion peeled and finely sliced
1 1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 preserved lemon, rinsed thoroghly in cold water and quartered
3/4 cup green olives, pitted
1/2 cup drained canned chickpeas
5 tbsp raisins
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
1 lemon, sliced

Pat dry the chicken thighs. Combine all the spices in a large bowl, then add the chicken, and toss to coat well with the spice mixture. Let the chicken marinate for  at least 1 hour.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 7 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Lower the heat to medium low, then add the garlic and onion. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add the apple juice, lemons, olives, chickpeas, raisins and stock. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 35-45 minutes, stirring regularly, until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

Serve the stew in a large serving bowl or platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro, mint and slices of lemon. Serve with Roasted Vegetable Couscous.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous
Serves 6

2 small sweet red and orange peppers, finely diced
1 small courgette, finely diced
1 small onion, sliced
Olive oil, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
2 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, grated zest and juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the cut diced vegetables on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven and roast for about 10 minutes.

Place the couscous in a heat proof bowl and stir in all the spices. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil and pour over the couscous making sure it covers the couscous mixture completely. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 5 to 10 minutes, until all the stock is absorbed.

Stir in the herbs, olive oil, grated lemon zest and juice. Fluff the couscous with a fork and toss with roasted vegetables. To serve, coat the inside of a small bowl or cup with some olive oil and using a spoon, fill a portion of the couscous to the top and press down to compress the grains. Invert the cup onto a serving plate until the couscous come loose and forms a small pyramid. Repeat for each plate. Present each plate with the couscous to guests and serve along with the platter of Moroccan Chicken Stew.