Moroccan Chicken, Lemon, & Olive Stew w/ Saffron Couscous

IMAG1257-3I recently made chicken soup with a homemade stock, and used some of the leftovers to prepare this dish…Moroccan Chicken, Lemon, & Olive Stew w/ Saffron Couscous. I found the basic recipe in a ‘Fine Living’ magazine that I’ve had lying around the house for a couple of years.

This stew is reminiscent of a Moroccan tagine chicken dish because of the warm, earthy spices infuse this savory concoction. And though you might think that this is a heavy and very spicy dish, the olives and lemon add a light zestiness that is perfect for casual entertaining. After a day or two…it tastes even better!

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CHEF’S NOTE: This recipe feeds 10-12 people, but I cut it down significantly and changed some of the ingredients to make it my own. Don’t be afraid to experiment and use ingredients that YOU prefer without completely changing the recipe.

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INGREDIENTS:

clip_image001 6 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 25)

clip_image001[1] Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

clip_image001[2] 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

clip_image001[3] 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

clip_image001[4] 8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

clip_image001[5] 1 Tbsp ground turmeric

clip_image001[6] 2 tsp ground cumin

clip_image001[7] 2 tsp. ground coriander

clip_image001[8] 3 small dried red chiles, crumbled

clip_image001[9] 2 cinnamon sticks

clip_image001[10] 1 bay leaf

clip_image001[11] 1 quart low-salt chicken broth

clip_image001[12] Finely grated zest and juice of 4 lemons (you won’t use all the juice)

clip_image001[13] 2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

clip_image001[14] 2 cup small pitted green olives

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DIRECTIONS:

Season chicken with 2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. pepper. Heat the oil in an 8-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, brown the chicken all over, about 3 minutes per side, transferring each batch to a plate or bowl.  It’ll take about 4 batches and 24 minutes total to brown all the chicken.  The bottom of the pan will be brown, that’s OK.

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Reduce to medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are softened and golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chiles, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the chicken broth, lemon zest, and 1/2 cup of the lemon juice. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.

Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot. Stir in the chickpeas and olives. Increase the heat to medium high and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes more.  Stir in 1 Tbsp. of the remaining lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over the Saffron Couscous.

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Saffron Couscous

clip_image002 3 cups (1.5 lbs) couscous

clip_image002[1] 3 cups low-salt chicken broth

clip_image002[2] 4 Tbs. margarine

clip_image002[3] 1/2 tsp. saffron threads, crumbled

clip_image002[4] sea salt

clip_image002[5] 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

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Put the couscous in a large bowl, set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken broth, butter, saffron, and 1 tsp. salt over medium-high heat until the butter is melted and the broth is hot. Pour the mixture over the couscous. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap until the liquid has been absorbed by the couscous (about 10-12 min). Gently mix the couscous and break apart any clumps.

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Now I did not use chickpeas because I didn’t want a starchy broth. Nor did I use chiles. I wasn’t in the mood for spicy food. I did add caraway seeds, fennel, and smoked paprika to give the stew a more distinct Moroccan flavor. I cook quite often, and I have gotten very good at “NOT” following recipes. I used my instincts to change the ingredient amounts. Something that I highly encourage you to do is play around with small dishes and experiment with different spices and flavors. You will surprised at how how quickly you are able to cook without measuring everything…trust me!


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VEGETARIAN EGGS???

If you think that all eggs taste the same…then you obviously have never tasted THESE eggs. I took a chance and bought a package, and I was absolutely impressed at the yolk color, the freshness, AND the taste…AWESOMENESS!

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G’s Roasted Vegetable & Pasta Soup

IMAG1093This is a wonderful AND simple recipe that I found in a magazine that I’ve had lying around for a couple of years. It is the epitome of a warm delightful comfort food that can satisfy even the hardiest of appetites.

INGREDIENTS

clip_image001 1-1/4 cups mixed dried cannellini and dried kidney beans, sorted through and rinsed

clip_image001[1] 1 large bulb fennel, quartered, cored, and cut into 3/4-inch slices

clip_image001[2] 3 inner ribs celery, cut into 2-inch pieces

clip_image001[3] 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

clip_image001[4] 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

clip_image001[5] sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

clip_image001[6] 28-oz. can whole tomatoes

clip_image001[7] 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

clip_image001[8] 6-8 oz elbow or penne pasta (or other small tube pasta), cooked until tender, rinsed, and drained (I used vegetarian ridged elbow pasta)

clip_image001[9] 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

clip_image001[10] 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano (I used shredded Rosemary & Olive Oil Asiago)

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PREPARATION

clip_image002 Cook the cannellini and kidney beans together.

clip_image002[1] Heat the oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, toss the fennel, celery, and carrots with the oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Roast, tossing after 10 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter, until the vegetables are nicely browned and tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a cutting board, chop them coarsely, and put them in a large pot.

clip_image002[2] Slice the tomatoes into large pieces and add them and their juices, the beans, 3 cups of their cooking liquid (or add water to equal this amount), and 1 Tbs. of the rosemary to the pot.

clip_image002[3] Bring to a boil, turn the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Thin with water, if necessary, to get the consistency you like.

clip_image002[4] Stir in the cooked pasta, the remaining 1 tsp. rosemary, the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

clip_image002[5] Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with a generous sprinkle of the cheese.

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Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Words cannot express just how delicious this dish tastes. It was inspired by a recipe created by Chef John of Foodwishes. His recipe ingredients are below, followed by photos of my own step-by-step preparation of this wonderfully delightful chili. For detailed preparation, check out Chef John’s blog post that includes an instructional video at this link: Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili.

INGREDIENTS:

clip_image001 2 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes

clip_image001[1] 1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper, or to taste

clip_image001[2] 1/2 tsp salt

clip_image001[3] 2 tbsp olive oil, divided

clip_image001[4] 1 onion, diced

clip_image001[5] 4 cloves garlic, minced

clip_image001[6] 1 red bell pepper, diced

clip_image001[7] 1 jalapeno, sliced

clip_image001[8] 1 tbsp cumin

clip_image001[9] 2 or 3 tbsp Ancho chili powder, or other chili powders, or to taste

clip_image001[10] 1/4 tsp dried oregano

clip_image001[11] 1 can (28-oz) diced or crushed tomatoes

clip_image001[12] 1 cup water, more as needed
1 tbsp corn meal

clip_image001[13] 1 tsp salt, or to taste

clip_image001[14] 1 tsp sugar

clip_image001[15] 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa

clip_image001[16] 2 cans (15-oz) black beans, drained, rinsed

clip_image001[17] cayenne to taste

clip_image001[18] sour cream and cilantro to garnish


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G’s Quick Pickled Okra

Y’all remember that okra in my ‘Surf & Turf’ platter? Here are the leftovers. I tossed them in olive oil and sea salt, and roasted them under the broiler for 20 minutes. Then I transferred the okra to Mason jars and covered them with vinegar. They will be tasty in about 1 hour…no long pickling process necessary.

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G’s SURF & TURF PLATTER

G’s SURF & TURF PLATTER…seared salmon on a bed of sautéed kale w/ carrots & roasted okra served w/ white wine vinegar. Also, pan seared Texas Gulf shrimp, olives, & fresh power Greens (spinach, minuza, chard, arugula) w/ a citrus vinaigrette…Bon Apetit!

NOTE: The “turf” is all the veggies…from the ground…

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G’s STUFFED SALMON

Recipe: A nice salmon filet…your favorite stuffing (I used a store-bought seafood stuffing). Wrap the stuffing in the salmon…it ain’t got to be pretty. Brush a little olive oil on the roll. Bake @ 400-deg for 20 minutes uncovered…#BAM!

This is too easy…and don’t be afraid to try different ingredients…

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