Saturday, August 29, 2009

Moroccan Chicken with Apricot Couscous

A little over a year ago, I was in a group with some friends from church we called "Dinners a la Carte." It was an awesome little group. If you are in to OAMC (Once A Month Cooking), that is basically what we did. We always had about 6 people, so really it wasn't a month's worth of dinners, but it was a good selection. I am going to be posting some of my favorite recipes from that group here. Unfortunately, there aren't any pictures yet, but trust me, these are totally worth trying.

OOoooooh. This is so delicious. I am still feeling the negative effects of being in the first trimester, but I am thinking about making this next week. The girl who shared this recipe with us found it in a Tyler Florence cookbook, but I don't know which one. I also don't know if the instructions are directly copied from the book, or her memory.

Moroccan chicken with Apricot Couscous
by Tyler Florence

Moroccan Spice Mix:
1 Cinnamon stick, chopped in pieces
8 whole cloves
1 tsp cayenne
2 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp brown sugar

1 whole chicken
salt and pepper
1 lemon, halved
1/4 bunch cilantro
1 head garlic
3 Tbsp olive oil

Apricot Couscous:
1 C couscous
1 1/2 C warm water
10 dried apricots
1/4 C whole almonds
2 green onions, green parts only
2 handfuls fresh mint leaves
2 handfuls fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Prepare the Moroccan Spice Mix:
Combine the spices (minus the salt and brown sugar) to a dry skillet on low heat and toast just for a minute to release the fragrant oils; shake the pan so they don't scorch. In a spice mill or clean coffee grinder, grind the toasted spices together with the salt and brown sugar.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse chicken, and pat dry with paper towels. Massage the chicken with the spice rub, make sure you don't miss a spot. (Massage the spices in between the skin and the breast) Season the inside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Stuff lemon halves, cilantro and garlic (cut in half) in the cavity, and place chicken in a roasting pan. Fold the wing tips under the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Drizzle the oil all over the chicken. If you have some time, let the chicken marinate for 30 mins to really get the flavors down deep into the meat. Roast the chicken for 1 hour; pop an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; if it reads 160 degrees, it's done. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 mins so the juices can settle back down into the meat.

To prepare the couscous:
Put the cous cous in a medium bowl; pour the water over it, stir with a fork to combine. Cover and let sit for 10-15 mins then uncover and fluff with a fork. Chop mix in's and add to the cous cous. Add lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.

Sare's notes:
1. I prepared my chicken in a crockpot from about noon until dinnertime. It was amazing! The flavors were through the chicken, not just on the surface. Ooooh, I can almost taste it now. I also did this a different time in a romertopf clay pot for about 2 hours in the oven (always remember to soak a clay cooker before each use). If you do the crock pot method, I don't think I tied the chicken legs together.

2. Don't skimp on the spice massage. Get it all over, you will be glad you did.

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