Moroccan Chicken with Squash and Dried Plums

Total Time:
6 hr
Prep:
40 min
Inactive:
3 hr
Cook:
2 hr 20 min

Yield:
4 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zest grated and juiced (about 2 to 3 tablespoons juice) plus 2 lemons, quartered, for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon harissa
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs, (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Pinch saffron strands
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch half moons or chunks
  • 3 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch half moons or chunks
  • 3 medium plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup dried pitted prunes (about 10)
  • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted
  • Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Special Equipment: coffee grinder, Dutch oven
  • Serving Suggestion: flatbread
  • Spice Mixture:
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Directions

Spice Mixture, recipe follows

In a medium glass bowl, combine the spice mixture, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and harissa. Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours. Warm the chicken broth and add the saffron strands, then allow to steep at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade. In a Dutch oven over high heat, brown the chicken thighs on both sides in 2 tablespoons olive oil, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set chicken aside on a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, and saute the onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Place the chicken thighs on top of the onions and add any accumulated juices from the plate. Arrange the zucchini and yellow squash and tomato quarters on top of the chicken and tuck in the prunes and olives. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken broth and saffron. Cover and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Let cook undisturbed 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is falling off the bone. Remove from the oven and transfer the contents of the Dutch oven to a large serving dish.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the almonds and fry until the skins begin to crackle, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the almonds and hot oil over the vegetables and chicken on the serving dish. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve, spooning over the sauce in the dish and garnishing each plate with the lemon quarters.

Cook's Note: If you're using a tagine: An unseasoned ceramic tagine may crack in the oven. Before using the tagine for the first time, submerge and soak it overnight in cool water. Pat dry and rub the inside with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then place in 350 degree F oven for 1 hour. Allow to cool, then proceed with the recipe.

Combine the spices in a coffee grinder and grind to a medium-fine powder. Add the kosher salt and pepper. Store in an air-tight container, if not using immediately.

Yield: 2 to 3 tablespoons


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