Tag Archives: North African

Harissa Chicken

INGREDIENTS

4 tsp Harissa Spice Blend
2 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
8 chicken thighs, excess fat and skin removed
2 onions, peeled and thickly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 sweet potatoes or 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks
1 tsp dried Lemon Zest
2-1/2 Cups chicken stock, heated

Serve with:
Plain Greek yogurt
Bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Prepared couscous
Pita bread wedges

STEPS

Make a quick Harissa paste by combining the spice blend with 1 Tbsp olive oil, stirring to form a spicy paste. Add a little more oil, or a little more Harissa powder, to reach the desired consistency / thickness. Use half of the harissa paste to rub over the surface of the chicken thighs before transferring chicken to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for several hours (or overnight).

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the marinated chicken pieces and fry them for a few minutes on each side, until pieces are lightly browned. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and brown them over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for five minutes. Add the remainder of the harissa paste to the onion and garlic in the skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine. Add the potato chunks, lemon zest and warmed chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.

Transfer spice and potato mixture into the slow cooker, carefully arranging the chicken thighs on top of the vegetables. Cook in the slow cooker for 4 hours on high, or 6+ hours on the low heat setting.

Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve chicken and vegetables with couscous, each piece of chicken topped with a little Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of fresh-chopped cilantro. Also goes well with Pita bread wedges, so take advantage of the spicy juices from the chicken.

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Take ‘The Road to Morocco’ with Chermoula blend

Bing Crosby and Bob Hope rode a (stuffed!) camel on “The Road to Morocco in the 1942 movie. A colorful, but really bumpy, ride indeed. For a smoother – and tastier – adventure, we suggest you do some culinary exploration of Morocco instead! Sadly, there probably won’t meet Dorothy Lamour, but we imagine you’ll be happy with your Moroccan discoveries nonetheless:
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Roasted Chermoula Chicken

INGREDIENTS
6 Chicken thighs, breasts, or a combination
1 medium red onion, finely-diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, minced
2 Tbsp Chermoula Blend
Zest from 2 lemons
Juice from 2 lemons, divided (two lemons will yield about 4 Tbsp juice in total)
3 Tbsp Citrusy Fused Olive Oil such as Eureka Lemon or Blood Orange
Kosher Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper to taste

STEPS
Combine the red onion, garlic, 2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, Chermoula Blend and lemon zest in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the olive oil and lemon juice to the mixture, and stir until it a paste forms.

Liberally season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper. Brush the Chermoula paste over each chicken piece and put the seasoned chicken in a non-reactive container. Cover the container and allow the chicken to marinate for at least an hour (or up to overnight) in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange chicken pieces on a lightly-oiled baking sheet. Roast chicken in the oven for about 40 – 50 min, until pieces are browned and thoroughly cooked.

Remove from oven and transfer chicken pieces to a serving platter, garnishing with remaining cilantro leaves and lemon juice.

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Eggplant Brik (Tunisian Savory Pastry)

INGREDIENTS

Filling
2 medium eggplant
Olive Oil
salt and pepper
Minced garlic
2 oz green olives, pitted and finely diced
2 oz raisins
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp capers, drained
1 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1-1/2 tsp Chermoula Blend
1/4 tsp Aleppo Chile (optional)
1 Tbsp, Single-Varietal Virgin Olive Oil

8 x (6 inch) prepared egg roll wrappers
1 egg white, beaten with 1 Tbsp water
Corn meal for dusting

STEPS
Prepare the filling:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice the eggplant in 1/4 inch-thick slices. Whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and garlic in a small bowl. Brush each eggplant slice with oil mixture and arrange evenly across a lightly-oiled rimmed baking sheet. Bake eggplant for about 15 minutes before turning over slices. Continue baking until eggplant slices are all lightly browned, about 10 minutes more. Remove baking sheet from oven and allow to cool.

Combine parsley, Chermoula Blend, Aleppo chile (if using) and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium bowl, whisking ingredients together thoroughly. Add green olives, cheese and raisins to the spices. When the baked eggplant is cool enough to handle, coarsely dice them and add to Chermoula sauce. Toss together so that eggplant is evenly coated.

Prepare the pastries:
Preheat oven to 400°F and lightly dust a baking sheet with corn meal. Lay one egg roll wrapper on a work surface, and brush the edges of the wrapper with the egg wash. Spoon 3 Tbsp of the eggplant filling into the center of the wrapper. Fold one corner of the wrapper to meet the opposite corner, making a triangle shape, leaving a half-inch border along the wrapper’s edge. Use your fingers (or a fork) to press all along the wrapper’s edge to seal and place on baking sheet.

Working quickly, repeat with remaining wrappers. Bake for about 15 minutes, until pastries are golden brown. Transfer cooked pastries to a serving plate.

These are delicious to eat fresh out of the oven, or make them ahead and enjoy them later once they’ve cooled.

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‘Flavors of Morocco’ cookbook

cookbook-flavors-of-morocco-2016Flavors of Morocco. ($24.95) As we head into fall and cooler weather, thoughts turn to warm, hearty meals, and rich, savory flavors.

You might not know it yet, but Moroccan food is just the thing you’re hungry for, with its spicy tagines, kebabs, meat-filled pastries, and stuffed tomatoes.

Because of its close proximity and similar climate to its neighbors across the Mediterranean Sea, North African cuisine shares many common elements with European cooking, but with some distinct cultural and culinary differences.

Essays sprinkled throughout Flavors of Morocco give the reader great information about the country’s culture, geography and history, and give these “exotic” recipes more context.

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