I think my love for cooking birthed from my love for eating. Food is just so good, and cooking is just as good. My dad would always come home from working and want to whip up some gourmet concoctions, creating heavenly smells that would waft from our cozy kitchen. He said it was his way of relaxing after a long day of work.
He's right, there is something very satisfying about combining ingredients to perfect a succulent dish. And then, of course, eating said succulent dish. Yum.
This past year I started really thinking about and studying what I was eating. I read a book called "The Paleo Diet" and it revolutionized how I look at food. Think about what cavemen used to eat.......and that's what I eat, now. Anything I could hypothetically grow, gather, or kill. And yes it would be much more fun to actually do these things, of course, but I live in Dallas, people. So as I've accepted the challenge to "go caveman," I've also accepted the challenge to try to make those meals tasty, thrifty, and fun.
I must admit, I haven't blogged much about food because I don't have a snazzy camera that takes snazzy pictures, and most foodie blogs feed off the fact (no pun intended) that they have delicious looking representations of the dishes being described. Well, I am no photographer, I am a writer. So pictures aren't worth a thousand words to me. Words create images, so here goes. By the end of this post, I expect you to be drooling over the meal I'm going to conjure up in your imagination.
Moroccan Chicken. That just sounds deliciously exotic, doesn't it? Just get ready. Heat up some olive oil in a deep saucepan as you cut up some thick, juicy chicken breasts. They don't look delectable now, but as soon as you drop them into the pan, a steady sizzle ensures that they will be. You want the heat hot enough to hiss at you, but not hot enough to make the oil jump out of the pan and bite. While the chicken is browning for about 10 minutes (be sure to flip those suckers over), go ahead and smash up your garlic, chop the parsley, dice the onions, and sliver the almonds. How you're supposed to "sliver" almonds, I'm not sure. I recommend buying them already "slivered." Now, smell your fingers. If you've got weak eyes, make sure you smell your fingers before you dice the onion (and after you've washed your hands from handling the raw chicken). Chicken is browned now, and your going to add the garlic to the brew, along with your secret weapons - cracked pepper and cinnamon. Mmmm. Saffron was on the recipe, but I didn't have any. I don't like how measuring utensils limit me, so I just sprinkled the cinnamon all over that chicken. Let me tell you, as soon as it hit the steamy pan, warm cinnamon filled the room and it smelled like fall, while the garlic added spice. Let that simmer for a minute before you add the onion, parsley, almonds, along with about 2-3 cups of water. You'll let it soak until the chicken is fully cooked and tenderized. It smells divine, like you're walking in a Moroccan desert town, strolling past a beautiful purple tent where a feast is being prepared. Your camel is salivating. It is that good.
So there you go! I'll include the "official" recipe at the end of this post in case I lost you in my descriptions. It was delicious, all-natural, healthy, and a low-cost meal. I paired it with some spinach and a sweet potato. The subtle hints of cinnamon in the chicken went perfectly with the potato, which I could then eat unseasoned as a result. Try it! See if you don't get lost in Morocco by the time you're done.
Moroccan Chicken ---------------- 3 tbsp olive oil 1 chicken, 3 pounds, cut up 1 garlic clove, crushed 1/2 cinnamon stick 1/4 tsp ground saffron 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper 1 pound small white onions, peeled 1/4 pound blanched almonds 2 tbsp chopped parsley