Why not spice up your dinner with this Moroccan Chicken & Rice dish. I can't tell you how tasty it is, so you'll just have to try it for yourself!
There was a time in my life when I was terrified to use any kind of exotic spice. Even cumin was exotic to me. Yes, cumin. I guess it's all relative really. I mean depending on where you're from, something is bound to be exotic, right? I'm sure there are parts of this far flung earth where something as basic as the turnip is exotic. He-hem, case in point southern Spain. Not a turnip in sight.
If you happen to be tuning in for the first time, I live here in Spain but my roots are in Newfoundland, Canada. And let me tell you, we grew up eating some pretty traditional dishes. Things like fish and brewis, jiggs dinner, corn beef hash, partridge berry tarts, split pea soup, cods tongues (yes, you read right!), cold packed moose, and so much more that define the Newfoundland culinary fare. Well, at least, defined my childhood. We also had mac and cheese, pizza, spaghetti and even tacos came on the scene when I was in high school. But what went on the dinner table, came down to the family you grew up with. Obviously.
In my early years, tradition far out numbered the latter.
Years moved on, I moved away and I was starting to develop my love of cooking and experimenting. But let's step back for a second, I've been interested in cooking since probably my mid teens. Well, baking mostly. And a lot of it came from a box, but everyone loves a good ol' box cake. But I do remember my proudest cooking moment.
I was 14 and my father and step mother were coming home from hospital with the newest member of our family. I was over the moon excited and wanted everything just right for them. I can still remember as clear as day what I cooked to celebrate, roasted chicken and scalloped potatoes. I used the nice dishes and set the dining room table and I can remember how sunny it was that day and I was even in shorts. It was mid April, in Newfoundland!
I was so excited, but I think I already said that. I don't remember much about the dinner. I do remember them being exhausted and tying to muster up the excitement for the dinner I cooked. We ate and it was probably edible but surely not anything to write home about.
But my real love for cooking didn't come till much later, about a decade later when I moved here to Spain. All of a sudden I was living on the door step of the biggest abundance of fresh ingredients that I had ever seen. Like, ever. I didn't drive, couldn't speak Spanish and never wanted to venture far on my own. So, I would shop locally every day for what we would eat. I would walk to the local fruiteria and get the vegetables, the panaderia to get the bread and the carniceria to get the meat. I would spend an entire morning shopping for ingredients just to cook for dinner. And then even longer in the kitchen trying to figure out what to do with it..ha! I felt exotic.
Somehow the years have passed, 22 to be exact. But who's counting. I find less and less food exotic these days because the lines became blurred somewhere over the Atlantic and a couple of decades later. So, if you're reading the blog and wonder why I consider olives or lemons to be everyday ingredients, it's because they are to me. But wherever you happen to be reading my blog from, you'll have your fall back ingredients to pull from as well. And to someone out there they will be exotic as well.
Notes about the chicken:
Okay, lets talk about this Moroccan chicken dish. First of all, I just have to say how much I loved it. It was really fantastic!
I used small chicken thighs with bone in but no skin. If you are using large chicken thighs, cook them on the stove top for about 10 minutes longer than the recipe states below. This may require a bit of additional stock if the pan goes dry. Yes, you can cook this dish with skin on. Just keep in mind it may add a big more of a greasy texture to the rice with the finished dish. Just a thought.
I wouldn't skip the recommended serving at the end of the recipe! Really, it made the dish even that much better. Just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, some fresh coriander and a bit of Greek yogurt on the side. Really fantastic!
This could be a great dinner to serve at a dinner for friends if they love trying more exotic foods. Keep it in mind next time you want to spice things up.
Happy cooking friends and cook something exotic today!
Moroccan Chicken & Rice
Serves 4 - 6 / Prep time: 15 minutes / Marinade time: 1 hour to overnight / Cook time: 50 minutes
For the chicken:
4 - 6 Chicken thighs, bone in (with skin, optional)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 Cup/60 ml chicken stock
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons turmeric
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/2 Tablespoon coriander
1 1/2 Tablespoons oregano
6 Garlic cloves, crushed
For the rice:
2 Cups Basmati rice
3 1/2 Cups Chicken stock
1 Onion, finely chopped
4 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tablespoon turmeric
1 Teaspoon coriander
2 Tablespoons olive oil
First marinade the chicken. Add the lemon juice, turmeric, cumin, coriander, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper to a large bowl and stir. Add chicken and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for one hour to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove chicken from fridge when ready to cook. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over the stove top. Add the chicken, the meaty side down. Cook for about 5 minutes until browned and flip over cooking the other side for a further 5 minutes or so. Reduce heat to low, add the 1/4 cup/60 ml of chicken stock, cover and leave to cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and transfer to a plate.
In the reserved pan, add the remaining olive oil, garlic and onion. Stir for for a minute and add the turmeric and coriander. Stir well. Leave to cook until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well until the rice is completely coated, about 2 - 3 minutes. Evenly pour over all the stock and give a quick stir.
Arrange the chicken over the dish, cover and put in the oven for further 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Remove from oven and leave a few minutes before serving.
Fluff rice with a fork before serving.
I recommend serving this dish with lime wedges, Greek yogurt and fresh coriander.
Click the downloadable link below to print recipe!
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