Friday, April 4, 2014

Moroccan Chicken and Lemons

One of my favorite flavors in the world is roasted chicken, lemons and onions. I'm not a huge fan of olives  but in the recipe their saltiness works perfectly. I am lucky enough to have more saffron than I need (if that's possible) I was able to get it for cheap in Zanzibar and love the color and flavor it adds to this dish. This recipe was tweaked slightly by a recipe I found on Pinterest that was pulled from can find it: here
You can also follow my "Chakula (food)" board here on Pinterest: here , my "Chakula Afrika" here: here, "Naughty but Yummy" here: here, and finally "Recipes Tried and Reviewed" here: here
Anyhow, this was from a recipe called "Dejej Besla" and it is actually a Tagine. I tweaked it a bit to be a one dish in the oven sort of week night easy dish. I went heavy on the paprika and light on the cumin. Cumin is often overpowering to me and I usually cut it in half. This dish would also be delightful if you were lucky to have preserved Lemons. I have found them at Whole Foods. You can also make them yourself.  I plan on doing that in a future blog post.  
Moroccan Chicken and Lemons about to put in the oven for roasting

1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste 
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tsp. cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground turmeric
5 tbsp. olive oil
4 skinless bone-in chicken thighs
4 skinless bone-in chicken drumsticks
1 tsp. crushed saffron threads
4 medium yellow onions, cut into 12 wedges each
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lemon, thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed
1¼ cups pitted green olives
⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro
Cooked white rice, for serving


1. Make a spice paste: Using the flat side of your knife, chop and mash salt and garlic together on a cutting board into a smooth paste; transfer paste to a large bowl and stir in cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Stir in 3 tbsp. oil, and then add chicken thighs and drumsticks; toss until evenly coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

2. Combine all ingredients on a baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees F.   Keep an eye on it.  One of the biggest problems with this type of dish is that people don't let it cook long enough.  Thighs and legs will stay juicy even if cooked for a while and are a lot more forgiving than breasts.  This dish is not done until the onions are very, very cooked and the lemons are browned.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tanzanian Inspired Roast Chicken and Chips... plus a baby kale salad recipe

I first had something similar to this meal in Tanzania.  We were at a mountain camp and the cook prepared this amazingly delicious and simple chicken and chips.  It had been cold and rainy for days and this dish just really warmed us! The chicken was not from some happy chicken that we often saw, it was from a sad chicken we bought at Shop Rite.  I'm not even certain it had been refrigerated the few days before we ate it!  Despite all that, it was the best chicken and chips we had ever had.  To get this most enjoyment from this meal, eat with your hands!

Roasted Chicken with all the yummy condiments. Pictured: Pilipili, ketchup, mayonnaise, roasted peppers and onions and oven fries.  Also some pomegranate seeds in a glass…

Roasted Chicken

1 small free-range chicken, preferably less than 4 lbs.
Garlic, paprika, salt and pepper
Lemons and whole garlic cloves
sunflower, grape seed or olive oil

Cover your bird with oil and season it with salt and pepper, paprika, minced garlic and any other spice that sounds good.
Stuff the bird with more salt and pepper, a lemon half or 2 and some garlic cloves. 
Cook the bird at 350 for about 1 1/2 hrs.  Juices should run clear.

Chips (oven fries)
Peal about 5 large potatoes for 4 people. (I use idaho or russet potatoes)
Slice into 8 wedges each. 
Soak in salted water for about 1/2 an hour.
Drain and pat dry
Pour Sunflower oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle in plenty of salt, pepper and paprika. Place the potato wedges in the seasoned oil and mix around until covered in the oil.
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes if you are cooking it in the same oven as the chicken and at the same time, or ideally bake at 400 for about 30 min. 

Serve the chicken and chips with mayo, pilipili hot sauce and ketchup.  In the picture I roasted some vegetables but often I just make this simple baby kale salad:

1 container baby kale
1 lemon
1/2 c. shredded parmesan
extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. honey
salt and pepper

Juice the lemon and grate a little bit of the rind.  Pour it into a screw top jar.  Add almost the same amount of olive oil, honey, salt and pepper.  Shake vigorously. Pour onto the kale and sprinkle with the cheese. Toss together.  It is quite alright to make this ahead of time and even eat it the next day.  Unlike other soft greens, baby kale is great even if it is wilted.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Lamb Chops

This is a simple marinade for lamb chops. Lamb is my favorite red meat. I served it with a simple salad of tomato, cumber and parsley with olive oil and vinegar. I also roasted parsnips. This would be awesome with banana fries! 

Lamb Marinade

1/3 c soy
1/3 c sherry
1/4 c balsamic
1 tsp dried onion
4 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced parsley
2 Tbsp chopped mint