I posted a couple of weeks ago a great Moroccan Chicken meal (Tyler Florence) that sort of went against the purpose of this blog - which is to create easy dishes that can be done quickly. So I set about trying to modify the original recipe as I loved the flavors but didn't necessarily love the investment of time. I came up with a much more simplified version, but stayed true to the flavors and the concept behind the dish. It ended up being quite the hit at our school Monday lunch bunch with daughter's friends and the frommies. I still prefer the longer version for sheer flavor and experience, but this modified version also tastes pretty darn good.
Moroccan Chicken over Apricot Cranberry Couscous
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 T of olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1.5 - 2lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
Mix all the ingredients except the chicken breasts together, creating a rich marinade. Add the chicken and let set in the marinade for at least 30 minutes - longer does make it taste better. While chicken marinates work on couscous.
After couscous is ready, cook up the chicken over medium heat in a fry pan, or a grill pan if you have it. Because of the spice mixture, the chicken DOES burn rather easily so watch carefully. After browning both sides carefully, turn the heat down to low and put a lid over the fry pan - this will allow the chicken to almost steam to fully cooked, making for a very moist chicken breast. Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes and then slice against the grain.
1 cup couscous
11/2 cups boiling water
10 dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 green onions, green parts only, chopped
2 handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the couscous, apricots and cranberries in a medium bowl; pour the water over it, stir with a fork to combine. Cover and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork. Add green onions and cilantro to the couscous. Add lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.