Entrees, Gluten-free, Refined sugar-free

A Moroccan-inspired Meal

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Despite the glorious Boston weather this weekend, I did a bit of cooking indoors and got some lovely results that I’m excited to share with you. Moroccan Chicken & Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad were just two dishes created, with some guidance from Alice Waters, in The Art of Simple Food, and Lemonade LA, in The Lemonade Cookbook. I’m on a bit of a Moroccan food kick right now (if you can’t tell). Moroccan cuisine incorporates lots of spices, meat, and fresh vegetables & fruits, and often times these components are all in one dish! It’s influenced by a number of different ethnic groups, including Arabs, Berbers, Moors, & the French, giving it a rich history and a lot of variety. Recipes, photos, & more, after the jump.

 

 

Moroccan Chicken
I tweaked the “Moroccan Chicken, dates, olives” recipe in the Lemonade Cookbook to make it a tiny bit healthier (cut out the sugar entirely) and to complement what I already had in my kitchen. While I don’t think the photo below does it justice, this dish is an incredible blend of sweet & savory- the dates and raisins give it a natural sweetness, the cumin, ginger, & olives add a savory element. Not the quickest meal to make, but certainly worth the effort.

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Moroccan Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium

You’ll Need:
4 boneless & skinless chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground ginger
Salt & freshly ground pepper, for seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
20 pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup raisins
4 dried dates
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or equivalent using dried thyme)
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth

1. Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat and add oil. When oil is hot, add half of the chicken and brown each side (4-6 minutes per side), making sure you get a good sear. Remove browned chicken from pan and set aside.
2. Leave chicken drippings in the pot, and add the onion. Sautée for about 5 minutes on medium heat, adding garlic half-way through. Onion and garlic should soften and have color.
3. Add the ginger, cumin, olives, dates, raisins, thyme, and broth to pot. Gently add chicken back into the pot, along with all accumulated juices. The chicken should be covered by the liquid and its contents. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Bring stew to a boil and then, reduce to medium-low heat. Let simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another 15-20 minutes to reduce the sauce {should be slightly thick}.

 

Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad
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This sweet potato dish, inspired by a recipe in The Art of Simple Food, makes a perfect side for the Moroccan Chicken. I placed it over spinach leaves, but it’s excellent all by itself.


Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy

You’ll Need:
3 sweet potatoes, peeled
Olive oil, to coat sweet potatoes and 3 tablespoons for marinade
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
A pinch of ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves + stem

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut sweet potatoes into large cubes and place in a baking dish (I used a 9×11 metal baking pan). Toss potatoes in dish with olive oil and season with salt.
2. Roast potatoes until tender (approximately 30 minutes)
3. When done, remove potatoes from oven and let cool. Meanwhile, make the marinade by whisking together the ginger, cumin, lemon juice, olive oil, salt to taste, paprika, and cilantro.
4. Spoon the marinade over the sweet potatoes and let sit for 30 minutes, at room temperature. Taste and adjust salt as needed. Serve at room temperature.

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What are your favorite Moroccan, or Moroccan-inspired, dishes? Let me know in the comment section!

Bon appetite,
L

 

 

 

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