Monday, December 5, 2011
Moroccan Chicken Smothered in Olives
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Let's face it, braises and stews are the ugly ducklings of the culinary circuit. Fortunately, great flavor masks their appearance and most folks include at least one braise or stew among their favorite dishes. Even the Silver Fox, who on finishing this lovely Moroccan chicken declared it to be, and I quote now, "a glorious mess." Now the Fox may not have made his money in the diplomatic corp, but he knows a good thing when he sees it and that was a rave review. I found the recipe while researching the work of Paula Wolfert. I needed just one recipe to represent her cooking for a feature on 50 Women Game-Changers in Food. I, instead, walked away with over a dozen that needed to be tried. One read of this recipe convinced me that this was something special and I made it for our dinner tonight. Mean weather made it all the more appealing and it is a perfect meal for a damp and chilly evening. This chicken is really easy to make, although the brining of the chicken adds a time factor that must be taken into account. I urge you not to bypass brining the chicken. It really makes a difference in this dish. The chicken stays moist and succulent and that moistness is a perfect foil for the Moroccan spices used in this dish. The chicken can be on the table within 45 minutes and you won't regret a moment of the time you spend making it. Here's the recipe.
Moroccan Chicken Smothered In Olives...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of The New York Times and Paula Wolfert
1/4 cup salt, for brining (optional)
1/2 cup sugar, for brining (optional)
8 chicken thighs with bone, skin removed and discarded
2 onions, peeled, halved and sliced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon Spanish sweet paprika
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
11-oz. pitted green olives in brine, like Goya's, drained
Juice of 1 lemon
1) To brine chicken (optional): In a large bowl, combine salt, sugar and 1 cup hot water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add 3 cups cold water and chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Drain, rinse, and drain again before using.
2) In bottom of a large flameproof casserole, arrange onions and top with chicken pieces. Sprinkle with ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, garlic and cilantro. Pour chicken broth over all.
3) Place over high heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, turning once. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine olives with several cups of water and bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, drain well and set aside.
4) Add olives and lemon juice to chicken, and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. If desired, simmer for additional time to reduce and thicken sauce. Serve hot. Yield: 4 servings.
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