New Years Eve found us yet again this year in Park City, UT, accompanied by fresh snow on the mountain and skis on our feet. We hit the slopes hard during the day, cruising down groomed runs and tackling mogel-filled bowls at Deer Valley resort. By the time we arrived home it’s fair to say we were absolutely pooped! Despite our aching legs we put on our party pants and got ready for a night out on the town to ring in 2013. But first, we needed fuel.
I found a recipe for Moroccan chicken on one of my favorite recipe websites, Epicurious. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Braised-Chicken-with-Dates-and-Moroccan-Spices-361592#ixzz2GqH2YwGm. It was a huge success with my Paleo family, and hit the spot of those craving carbs (minus the actual carbs, shhhh!). This is a dish meant to serve a crowd, as it finishes cooking in one large pot. We served the chicken atop cauliflower “rish” and alongside a fresh vegetable salad.
As a note, the recipe says to coat the chicken in flour before searing. I eliminated the flour in an attempt to keep it paleo. The result was that the sauce didn’t thicken as it was supposed to. At the very end, I mixed some corn starch with cold water and stirred it into the sauce as a thickening agent. Not sure if that’s trly Paleo, but I tried my hardest!
3 1/2 pounds chicken breast halves and/or thighs
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds shallots (about 11 large), peeled
3 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
12 dates, pitted, halved
1/4 cup almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and flour. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken pieces to pot and cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to baking sheet or platter; repeat with remaining chicken. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot and discard. Reduce heat to medium. Add shallots to pot; sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add cinnamon sticks, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to high; add broth and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until shallots begin to soften, about 18 minutes. Place chicken pieces atop shallots in pot. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until juices run clear when thickest part of drumstick is pierced with knife, about 25 minutes.
Transfer chicken and shallots to platter; tent with foil. Boil juices in pot until slightly thickened. Stir in dates and remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Reduce heat and simmer gently until dates are heated through, about 2 minutes. Pour sauce and dates over chicken. Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro, and serve.