So this is why you made the preserved lemons a few weeks ago. What? Didn't make them? OK, you can probably buy some. This one is complicated, labour-intensive and fussy. But it really is worth it. You could probably stretch it out over 2-3 days, and just make the chicken and couscous on the day you want to eat. The spice mix works well with lamb also.
Moroccan Spiced Chicken
2 Fresh chickens, 1.5 Kg each, cut into 8 pieces (4 legs and 4 breasts)
4 cloves garlic
75 ml olive oil
12 mint leaves
75 ml Moroccan spice blend (recipe below)
200 ml bulgur couscous (method below)
1 cinnamon stick
20 Medjool dates
75 ml cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp ground turmeric toasted
2 tsp Aleppo chili
75 cup olive oil
150 ml water
75 ml cup toasted Marcona almonds
150 ml finely minced parsley
1 preserved lemon
150 ml caramelized chicken jus (recipe below)
salt to taste
Marinating and roasting chicken
1. In a mortar, mash 4 garlic cloves, 12 mint leaves, and a pinch of salt
until pasty. Add 75 ml of Moroccan spice blend, and the 75 ml olive oil and mix with pestle.
2. Coat chicken with mixture. Marinate overnight.
3. Season legs and breasts with salt.Coat two cast iron pans with vegetable oil and place the four legs in one pan and the four breasts in another pan with the skin side down.
4. Cook for 8 minutes, then place in a preheated 400-degree oven for 12 minutes (breasts) and 15 minutes (legs), or until cooked through but still juicy.
Method: Turmeric Dates.
1. Simmer dates in water for a few seconds, or until the peel can be easily removed, and do that.Cut dates in half.
Simmer 75 ml vinegar, 75 ml olive oil, 150 ml water, 2 teaspoons turmeric, and 2 teaspoons Aleppo chili, and let cool to ambient temperature.
2. Add the vinegar mixture to the dates, and place in a tight-fitting container so that they are one layer deep with the rounded half facing up.
Method: Bulgur couscous
1. Rinse the bulgur under cold running water for several minutes. Flake the bulghur by hand into individual grains.
2. Place the bulgur into a steamer with the lid off. Steam for 10 minutes on very high heat.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 so that you have steamed and flaked the couscous a total of three times.
(30 minutes total cooking time.)
Finishing the dish
Mound 150 ml of bulghur couscous into the center of an entrée plate,place warm dates and carrots around the couscous, sprinkle with toasted almonds. Place chicken over the couscous, drizzle chicken jus around the plate.
Enough for 8 hungry people.
Moroccan Spice Blend
1 part toasted cardamom,coarsely ground
1 part toasted cinnamon,coarsely ground
1/4 part toasted cayenne, ground and toasted
3 parts toasted coriander, coarsely ground
3 parts toasted cumin,coarsely ground
3 parts toasted paprika, ground and toasted
1 part mint leaves, coarsely chopped
2 parts coarsely chopped garlic
2 parts olive oil
1/2 part lemon zest, peeled and bruised
1/2 part turmeric, ground and toasted
1/2 part fresh ginger, chopped finely.
Prepare all ingredients individually, mix together
Caramelized Chicken Jus
500 g chicken wings, roasted in the oven until golden brown
grape seed oil
150 ml Marsala wine
800 ml blond chicken stock
75 ml peeled and diced carrots
150 ml peeled and diced shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs thyme
1. Caramelize the carrots and shallots.
2. Add the roasted chicken wings, garlic and Marsala, and reduce to a glaze. Add the blond chicken stock and simmer for one hour.
3. Strain several times through a chinoise. Place back over the stove top and reduce to one cup.
4. Add the thyme and bay leafduring the last five minutes
3. Place bulghur onto a sheet pan. Let cool slightly. Drizzle with a liberal amount of extra virgin olive oil, flake grains again. Season to taste with salt.
5. Add parsley, preserved lemon zest, 30 ml lemon juice, and additional extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste, set aside.
Thanks to Mark Sullivan for the recipes.