Monday, 25 October 2010

Moroccan style chicken & sweet potato mash

Following my recent recipe for harissa I am going to show you a whole dish that you can cook for dinner using this hot chilli sauce. My choice was quite obvious and natural - a dish inspired by North African cuisine.

When we went to Morocco last year we were delighted with everything we tried. The food is fantastic, mouth watering, aromatic and spicy - I don't mean hot, but it has a lovely aroma and flavour coming from different herbs and spices. Sometimes we did not have to do anything but close our eyes and breathe this lovely aromas in. It was enough to get close to the culinary ecstasy.

I would recommend Moroccan cuisine to any food lover, but it is better to try dishes from small restaurants or meals made on streets or markets as it taste better than safe menu prepared for an average European tourist in hotels. This is how you get a true local taste.

I haven't got a traditional tagin dish but I have prepared something inspired by North Africa cuisine with some Moroccan influences. I like when aroma of the spices fills up our cottage, especially when it is cold outside. It brings the warmth to our hearts and stomachs.

I have found a recipe in "Good Food", October 2010 issue, but I have changed it, so this is how I made it:

serves 2

2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless(you can use any chicken pieces with bones, but it will take longer to cook it)
1 level tsp harissa
2 tbsp neutral olive oil
1 onion, peeled, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 large tomato, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped
about 200ml vegetable or chicken stock
8 whole dried apricots
handful whole, black olives
tsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper

some chopped parsley or coriander to garnish

Spread the harissa over the chicken and leave it in a fridge to marinate for whole day or at least for two hours before cooking.

In a pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil and fry the chicken on both sides until seared. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan and fry the onions for about 3 minutes, until slightly softened and add garlic. Fry for another minute or so, next add tomato, stock, honey, cinnamon and return the meat into the pan. Add apricots, season with some salt and pepper, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Next add the olives and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve sliced with some sauce and

Sweet potato mash

serves 2

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced roughly
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp neutral olive oil

Boil the potatoes in a pan of salted water until soft. Drain well, return to the pan with oil and nutmeg and mash until smooth.

I served it sprinkled with some chopped parsley but I think some fresh chopped coriander would be even better.

If you are looking for something else inspired by Moroccan cuisine click here.

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