Make a Moroccan Inspired Feast: (Tagine) Roasted Chicken, Pluots & Couscous Recipe

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Authentic spices and flavors to savor.  Try this easy-to-cook meal!

Inspired by Morocco – a Toast to Good Times.

When I was in seventh grade, curiosity “virtually” led me to Morocco: our class project was to pick a random country and write a report — and so I picked Morocco.  Instantly, I fell into a long-distance love affair with a country rich in culture and food.

Many, many, years later, I sat on a plane with another road warrior, making small talk on the way home to LA.  He pointed at the stretched-open “Places We Fly” map, and breaking my empty gaze, he declared, “Morocco should your next destination. It is simply fabulous. Use your miles. You have to go.  It’ll be a great trip.”

“Yeah, ok… why not?”

That sounded like fun. No one in my circle of friends had ever actually been to Morocco before. At the time, my sister was doing a law school “exchange year” in Lyon, France (coincidentally one of the culinary capitals).  It seemed like a feasible option to start my trip in Paris, visit my sister in Lyon, drop down into Spain for a short bit, tour around Morocco, and then head back to work.

…and that’s how I ended up traveling to Morocco. Yep — all by myself.

I realized that traveling solo to somewhere “more exotic” really isn’t too that difficult, and the trip might have been one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had.

How often do you get to spend time with your sister running around a culinary capital; or travel solo and explore the Souks (markets) in Marrakesh; eat from fire-roasted tagines; visit Kasbahs, the Atlas mountains, the Sahara; and witness goats climb trees?  To top it off, a camel surprised me with a big wet kiss.  Ick!  The photo below was taken directly after the unplanned “smooch”.  Say cheese.  Those are all cherished days (and a long time ago now…)


It’s how the scent of a roasted Moroccan “tagine” spice blend of cinnamon, cumin, saffron, chilies, and ginger can instantly transport me to that treasured moment in time.  To me, “special recipes” and foods are here to help us celebrate and mark the good times in our lives….

The pluots that we picked last week were finally ripe, and since I didn’t know what to do with them, I adapted this Moroccan Chicken/couscous recipe, prepped it in a pan, and then oven roasted it in a tagine.

It is a relatively easy recipe, but takes a little time.  With most things, a little love goes a long way…

 

This recipe can also be cooked in a Dutch oven (or similar), if you don’t own a tagine.

Moroccan Inspired Feast: (Tagine) Roasted Chicken, Pluots & Couscous Recipe (low sodium)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2 lbs chicken, 4-5 cups couscous. (4 servings)

Moroccan Inspired Feast: (Tagine) Roasted Chicken, Pluots & Couscous Recipe (low sodium)

Ingredients

  • Ingredients for Chicken Tagine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads (or you can use turmeric if you don't have saffron handy)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, freshly ground (or one small stick, freshly ground)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin, freshly ground
  • 1 fresh chili, minced - or 2 tablespoons (note: heat intensity will depend upon how much you use.  If you prefer a less hot version, consider using 1 teaspoon paprika instead)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, pureed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, crushed or pureed (we prefer pureed, as it lends a better consistency).
  • 4 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 2 lbs chicken breast, skinless (we used "bone in"), washed and cut into 6-9 pieces (slightly smaller than quarters).
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion (about 1/3" thickness).
  • 2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ripe pluot (or apricots)
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro (for seasoning and for garnish).
  •  
  • Ingredients for Couscous
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 1 ripe pluot (or apricots), unseeded and diced into small (approx 1/2") pieces.
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon (no white pith).
  •   
  • Garnish - Optional:  Slivered Almonds, pan roasted.

Instructions

  1. Directions for Chicken  
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Place the saffron threads in a small ramekin and crush immediately before use.  Add 2 tablespoons hot water.  Allow to steep for ~ 20 minutes before use.
  4. Place the oil, cinnamon, cumin, fresh chili, ginger, garlic, saffron (and liquid), in a fry pan and combine.  Add 1/4 cup of the onions.  Quickly bring to high heat, (taking care that you do not burn the spices), place chicken in pan, sear the chicken, and immediately reduce heat to medium.  Simmer for approximately 5 minutes, turning the pieces during the cooking time, so that they are evenly (a) coated in the spices, and (b) cooked (on each side). Remove from pan.
  5. Place the chicken and the liquid into the cooking vessel (tagine).  Mix the pluots and roughly 4-5 sprigs of cilantro in, and then add the 2/3 cup of low sodium chicken stock.  Cover with lid, and place in the 350F oven.  Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, (i.e. center should no longer be pink, juices run clear). Remove from heat and serve over couscous.   
  6. Directions for Couscous (make the couscous right before serving)  
  7. Place the chicken broth in a pot.  Bring to boil.  Add couscous, lemon zest, diced pluot, and chopped cilantro.  Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
  8. After 5 minutes, uncover.  Fluff with a fork.
  9. Serve.
http://lowsodiumblog.com/2011/08/tagine-roasted-chicken-pluots-couscous-moroccan-feast-recipe/
 

About Johanna

Johanna weaves together a love for global foods and wanderlust in Low Sodium Blog. Inspired by her foodie family, who met a number of serious health challenges and adapted to low sodium diets on a turn of a dime, Low Sodium Blog chronicles their (farm) source to table expeditions, culinary travel, low sodium recipes, healthy eating adventures, and more. She and her family live in Los Angeles, California, a great travel hub and culinary playground.

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