Monday, December 29, 2008

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken

See the super-cool new logo at the top of my blog? We’ve been branded! That’s courtesy of my incredibly thoughtful, uber-talented brother-in-law, whom we call Matty-Pants. (Not to protect his identity. That’s just what we call him.) Matty-Pants gave me a collection of related logos to use. I want to put them everywhere. On my apron. On my recipe cards. On the side of my car. Perhaps a forehead tattoo.

But back to the food. When the hubby and I were in Chicago a few months ago, we took a walking food tour. At one of the stops, a catering company/deli, we saw some Moroccan chicken in the window. The hubby said, “That looks good. We should try to make something like that.” Now, I have relatively nothing to go on here. It looked like baked chicken with maybe olives and red peppers. But I vowed I’d figure something out, even though the hubby no longer has any recollection of this event and wasn't any help.

So today I attempted to create something that resembles my vague memory of Moroccan chicken. I decided to use the slow cooker instead of baking or broiling the chicken (because I love my slow cookers), after I rubbed the chicken with lemon juice and spices, and browned it. Then I created a sauce of the pan drippings, chicken broth, kalamata olives, peppadews, and dried apricots. It kind of gives the dish an overall hot/sour/sweet/salty mix, which is fabulous.

You can substitute roasted red peppers for the peppadews. That’s what I was going to use, but then I saw the peppadews at the olive bar and couldn’t resist. (I love saying “at the olive bar.” I sound hip.) The dish may not appear to be kid friendly, but you could omit the olives and peppers and the chicken would still be very flavorful. (As a child, I wouldn’t go near an olive with a 10-foot pole. I also wouldn't as a 25-year-old.) Also, you can scale back on the spice mixture if you think the flavor might be too overwhelming for young palates.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken
Serves 4

Spice rub
½ Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. ground coriander
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

4 chicken breast halves
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
½-¾ c. chicken broth
½ c. sliced kalamata olives
¼ c. chopped peppadews or roasted red peppers
¼ c. chopped dried apricots

1. Combine spice rub ingredients in a small bowl.

I like this photo. It’s kind of psychedelic. It makes me dizzy.

2. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with half the lemon juice and half the spice rub. Use your fingers to work it in a bit. Flip the chicken and top with the remaining lemon juice and spice rub.

3. Heat oil in a large saute pan or frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on both sides, sprinkling with salt and pepper.

4. Move chicken to slow cooker.

5. Reduce heat to medium and add chicken broth to pan, scraping up all the bits in the pan. Add olives, peppers, and apriots.

You can’t see the apricots in this picture. They were an afterthought. I'm crazy that way.

6. Pour sauce over chicken. Cook on low heat 4-6 hours, or until chicken is tender.

7. Serve with rice or couscous.

I went with rice. The hubby doesn’t really like couscous, and I had to suck up to him up after I put apricots in his supper.

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