not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Morocco Main Course

And now onto the main courses:

  • Roast Chicken with Lemon and Olives
  • Seared Lamb Kebabs Cooked in Butter (with Eggs)
  • Winter Squash with Caramelized Onions
  • Cailin's Saffron CousCous
Roast Chicken with Lemon and Olives

This recipe I definitely altered a lot. It called for preserved lemons, Oudi, and saffron water. It was also the FIRST chicken that I have EVER made (I know, hard to believe...but I usually leave the meat cooking to my parents, and I stick with everything vegan and vegetarian).

Chicken (about 3.5lbs)
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teapsoon ground turmeric
sprinkle of saffron
small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
small handful of fresh cilantro
butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup chicken stock
2 medium onions
a dozen or so green olives

Preheat the oven to 400. Stuff a quartered lemon and some cloves of garlic up the chickens bum. In a food processor blend a few tablespoons of EVOO with all of the seasonings (fresh herbs, garlic, turmeric, ginger, salt and white pepper). This creates a sort of paste that I rubbed all over the chicken. Pour the chicken stock into the roasting pan, add the butter in, and then sprinkle in the saffron. Quarter your onions and toss them in. Cover with tin foil and cook for the first hour with the tinfoil on. An hour to an hour and a half in, remove the tin foil and throw your olives into the pan. The chicken should be done in an hour. This was my first chicken ever - and my father, the KING of roasted chicken, said that it was "GODDAMN DELICIOUS"...going in for seconds and thirds, and then claiming any leftovers for the next days lunch. Before serving it sprinkle some fresh cilantro and parsley on top to make it look pretty :)

Seared Lamb Kebabs Cooked in Butter

This lamb was crack...and that's coming from someone who doesn't enjoy lamb. CRACK. Like, I couldn't get enough -- and neither could anyone else. I definitely used more lamb than was called for, so I adjusted the amounts of other ingredients with my eyes and palate. Plus, by this time I'd been prepping and cooking for about 14 hours - plus I was pretty buzzed, so any and all rules set by Paula Wolfert went out the window. It was frickin' delicious. Because I messed with the recipe so much and just went with my gut, I'll post her recipe so that you'll have something to follow. But I will say, I didn't sear the meat -- I just sauteed it in a pan for a minute. And I actually DID grate the onion, rinse it, strain it and then used it. Also, I think I tripled the amount of butter she calls for.... So here is Paula's recipe for the Lamb:

1 1/2 pounds of boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup grated onion
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup mixed chopped flat leaf parsley and cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 round teaspoon paprika
1 cinnamon stick
juice of 1 lemon
4 - 6 large eggs

1. Toss the lab with half the grated onion, salt and pepper to taste and the crushed garlic. All to "ripen" for at least 1 hour. (**I DEFINITELY didn't do this....and it wasn't necessary).

2. Preheat the broiler to the highest setting. Arrange the lamb on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and, when the broiler is very hot, sear quickly on both sides. The lamb will not be fully cooked. (**I didn't do this, I just sauteed it in a hot pan, browning the outsides).

3. Melt the butter in a tagine or cazuela set over a heat diffuser. Add the meat, remaining onion, the herbs, spices, and cinnamon stick, and cook briefly, then add enough water to almost cover the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time and adding water if necessary to maintain about 1 cup of sauce. (**Okay, by this time in the evening I was definitely a bit drunk, so my memory is hazy. But I do know that I didn't use a tagine or a cazuela, I used a cast iron skillet. After browning my meat in it- step 2- I then added in the onion, herbs, spices, cinnamon stick and lots of butter. I think I added a bit of water too.... Anywho, I didn't add water throughout. There was enough sauce left at the end.)

4. Add the lemon juice (just a touch) and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Break in the eggs carefully, cover the tagine (or in my case, the skillet), and cook until the eggs are set. (**You want them a bit runny, so don't cook too long!)

5. Serve at once.

Winter Squash with Caramelized Onions (Cassolita)

I cooked this the night before, so I was definitely sober and remember the details! I Didn't follow her recipe word for word, so I'll give it to you from my perspective:

2 pounds butternut squash (thats just one medium sized butternut)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
small handful flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dark raisins
freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Place it is a roasting pan, cut side down. Add just about 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the pan, cover with tin foil and roast for about 30-40minutes (until the squash is very soft). I put it in the fridge and then this was the first thing that I started working on the morning of the dinner party. By then the squash was obviously cooled. I remove the pulp and set aside in a bowl. I thinly sliced the onions and caramelized them in a skillet for about 30 minutes. When they were almost finished I added a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a touch of salt and pepper and a handful for dark raisins. In a separate skillet I lightly toasted the slivered almonds (with just a touch of EVOO in the pan). Squash on the bottom of the serving platter, caramelized onions and raisins on top, toasted almonds on that and then some fresh flat leaf parsley for color. I heated this up in the oven about 20 minutes before serving it.

Cailin's Saffron Cous Cous

Paula only had fancy cous cous recipes, and I knew that I wanted something basic to compliment the meat dishes. SO, I just followed the instructions on the cous cous container - with a few exceptions. With cous cous you do equal parts liquid to grain. So I did 1 cup chicken stock, 2 cups water...brought it to a boil, tossed in a few saffron threads, turmeric and fresh garlic and then added in 3 cups of cous cous and about 3/4 cup of golden raisins. Take it off the heat and cover for 5 minutes and then FLUFF it with a fork. If you don't fluff it right after you've cooked it then it will never fluff. So, fluff fluff fluff. Enjoy underneath your meat dishes and their sauces, as well as with a big scoop of Harissa!!!

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