I love Moroccan or Middle Eastern inspired dishes. They deliver on every level….hearty, sweet, savoury and really easy, one pot cooking. This dish was no exception. Tender chicken pieces, skin on and bone in, nestled in a subtly spiced, tomato based sauce with pops of sweetness and crunch. Topped with a preserved lemon and herb infused yoghurt and resting on a bed of Cous Cous, this was a fabulous, healthy meal for the family.
Prep time: 25 Minutes Cooking time: 1 Hour $$ Medium Budget
Oil for frying
4 chicken thighs and 4 chicken legs
2 heaped tbs of Ras el Hanout (see Em’s food recipe below)
2cm piece of ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 large brown onion, halved and sliced top to bottom
1 cup of chicken stock
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 x 400gm tins of diced tomato
1 tbs of tomato paste
12 pitted prunes
1/2 cup of roasted almonds
1 cup of coriander leaves
Sea salt and Pepper
Cous cous to serve
Coriander sprigs for garnish
For the Yoghurt
1 cup of greek yoghurt
2 wedges of preserved lemon, flesh removed and discarded and skin finely chopped
1/2 cup of mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup of coriander leaves, finely chopped
Heat a large frypan and add a little oil. Place the chicken pieces on a piece of baking paper and season the chicken pieces with a little salt and sprinkle over 1 tbs of the Ras el Hanout spice blend. Use your hands to rub the spice blend into the chicken pieces so they are nice and evenly coated and then brown them in the pan until golden. Remove the chicken and set aside. Don’t forget to wash your hands…..
In the same pan, add a little more oil if need be and then lightly fry the onion until soft before adding the garlic and ginger. fry for a further minute and then sprinkle over the remaining Ras el Hanout. Fry until aromatic and then add the lemon juice and stock, using a wooden spoon to scrape the spices from the bottom of the pan. Pour in the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then add the chicken (and any juices) back to the pan. Cover with a sheet of baking paper and a tight fitting lid and simmer for approximately 40-45 minutes, turning the chicken periodically.
Remove the baking paper and lid from the pan and add the prunes and roasted almonds. Stir to combine and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened and the chicken is coming away from the bone.
To make the yoghurt, place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Just before serving, add the coriander leaves to the chicken and stir through.
Divide cous cous between four serving bowls and top each with a chicken thigh and leg. Spoon over the sauce, making sure everyone gets a few prunes and almonds. Place a generous dollop of the yoghurt on top and garnish with the coriander sprigs. Serve with steamed greens or a green salad.