The taste of Morocco
PREP TIME: 15 mins + 3 hrs marinading time
COOKING TIME: 35 mins
IDEAL FOR: Crowds, family, one-pot meal
Inspired by Morocco
This was going to be a post done after Easter.
It was going to be about how I’d travelled to Morocco.
And I was going to ramble and drone on about my wonderful trip.
The experience of Marrakesh’s well-known and loved chaotic souks
How vibrant the place is, the food rich with wonderful flavours.
Then I was going to ramble on some more about the Atlas Mountains.
Describe their majesty and wonder.
And finally, I was going to describe the desert and its huge sand dunes.
The incredible feeling of isolation they give you.
Ah, now there’s a word we can now all relate too!
(see what I did there 😉)
As we all know, you don’t need Atlas Mountains or the Sahara Desert to feel isolated.
Just a global pandemic.
And so, that’s where we are.
No exotic trip.
Just fights with all the booked hotels and the airline.
While we sit in our own little island of isolation and social-distancing in Devon.
(I realise there could be worse scenarios)
Using the time to cook up dishes from far-away places.
Don’t feel sorry for yourself
Sorry, I think I was slipping into a bit of self-pity.
When in actual fact (touch wood), everyone I know is still healthy.
And how lucky to be able to try out some new dishes in my kitchen.
Plus, cooking helps keep you motivated and focused.
As well as keeping all those locked down very happy.
Our village is small, very social (under normal circumstances) and wonderfully generous.
We have a group set up so you can volunteer to help those who are self-isolating.
The pub, hotel and restaurant have all closed.
But people are trying to support them by buying take-away beer and join online pub-quizzes.
And we’ve been asking the odd neighbour if they’d like a plate of our home-cooking (delivered just to their door, of course)
Last Sunday, we delivered our Sunday roast dinner to a friend and neighbour.
And we’ve offered our friend, who’s a very busy NHS nurse, if she’d like a home-cooked meal delivered.
It makes cooking even more special being able to look after people.
The ‘Stoke Fleming Mountains’
So, no, we didn’t get to the Atlas Mountains.
But we have our own little hills around our village.
And a community that’s pulling together to ensure everyone is ok.
So, what does it matter?
I still whipped up a Moroccan inspired dish.
And it was simple, very tasty and easily shareable.
Plus, I bought a whole chicken and learnt to joint it
This means you get more bang for your buck (more meat, stock).
Which so good for when supermarkets are getting stripped.
Give it a go…
Inspired by Morocco.
Cooked and enjoyed by my family (in Devon :).
If you have a dish that was inspired by a trip or one you didn’t quite make, leave a comment.
Chicken tagine with olives and lemon
- tagine or heavy casserole dish
For the marinade
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp saffron threads, broken up
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 chicken cut in 8 to 10 pieces
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium onions, sliced thin
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 calamata olives, pitted and halved
- 8 cracked green olives, pitted and halved
- 1 large or 3 small preserved lemons (sold in specialty food shops) **2 substitutes: Lemon Zest. A little lemon zest will add a different type of lemony fragrance to your dish. Lemon Zest + Sea Salt Flakes
- 235 ml chicken stock
- 1/2 juice of lemon
- chopped flat-leaf parsley
- PREPARATION Mix garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin and turmeric together. If not using kosher chicken, add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add pepper to taste. Rub chicken with mixture, cover, refrigerate and marinate 3 to 4 hours. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add chicken, and brown on all sides. Remove to platter. Add onions to skillet, and cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to tagine, if you are using one, or leave in skillet. Add cinnamon stick. Put chicken on onions. Scatter with olives. Quarter the lemons, remove pulp and cut skin in strips. Scatter over chicken. Mix stock and lemon juice. Pour over chicken. Cover tagine or skillet. Place over low heat, and cook about 30 minutes, until chicken is done. Scatter parsley on top, and serve.