Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Moroccan Chicken

Since I started writing Tonight's Menu, I have learnt a couple of things about my eating habits and preferences.  Firstly, it turns out that we eat a lot of chicken.  If you look down the list of links at the side of the page you'll see that chicken has far and away the most posts.  We only eat free range birds.  We buy them whole and butcher them at home so that we have portions ready for any occasion.

Secondly, I have realised that I am really into Moorish cooking and flavours.  I already knew that I liked Spanish food, but I hadn't really considered the extent of its roots or how often I want to eat something inspired by the flavours of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula.

In the warmer months we eat a lot of warm salads and spiced grilled meat for our evening meals but the spices that the Moors introduced to Spain are great for winter warmers.  Tonight we revisited a recipe that we have had knocking around since our early university days, Moroccan Chicken.

Chicken legs work wonderfully in this one pot dish which is handy as that was all that was in the freezer.  We didn't have all of the actual ingredients to hand so we improvised a little.  A sliced onion, a couple of carrots cut into batons, a couple of cloves of garlic and the chicken are placed into a pan along with half a pint of stock (chicken or veg).  A teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon and chilli add the spicy kick and a tablespoon of honey adds a mellow sweetness.  After 25 minutes simmering I added a tin of blackeye peas and some chopped parsley and let it cook for 10 more minutes.

In the recipe the carrots are courgettes, added for the last 10 minutes.  The blackeye peas are meant to be chickpeas.  Neither of these forced changes made the finished meal any less enjoyable.  In fact the carrots added an additional sweetness to the honey so I'll probably add them in next time and make a note in our recipe book.

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