This recipe is to die for...Vicki James, foodBlog
Have you got the pre-winter food blahs? Do you feel like you've been eating the same boring meals for a thousand and one nights? If, like most of us, you are trying to slim down a little after the holidays, it's even worse. I mean, really, how many flavorless grilled chicken breasts can you eat? Things are about to get a lot more exciting. Come with me to the Casbah, and we will find some marvelous new flavor adventures together!
This recipe for Moroccan Chicken Thighs is one of my favorites. It's packed with exotic spices, and a blend of sweet figs and green olives. Serve it over couscous for a true Moroccan experience. Best of all, in spite of the rich favors, it's low in calories and fat since it's a recipe from Cooking Light magazine. I love it because it's quick and easy. As long as you prep the ingredients before you start to cook, the whole spectacular dish comes together very quickly.
My husband can't let go of this notion he has that he doesn't like figs. Time and again I make a recipe that proves him wrong. Nevertheless, every time I tell him I'm going to make this recipe, the whining starts. Until he eats it. Every time, he practically licks the skillet clean. Last night was no exception. The recipe is supposed to serve 4. After I served myself and he loaded his bowl, it was all gone. I rest my case. He ate all of it except a few bites of fig and some couscous. Truthfully, I think it's a stretch to say it serves 4. Especially if you want to eat a small portion of couscous. I think it serves 3 easily. If you really need to serve 4, I would add another chicken thigh and increase the rest of the ingredients by 50 %.
Here is the recipe as written. Except to increase the number of servings, I wouldn't change a thing.
Moroccan Chicken Thighs
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 4), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces.
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup quartered dried Calimyrna figs (if you can't find this variety, substitute any dried figs)
¼ cup coarsely chopped pitted green olives
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
3 tablespoons sweet Marsala or Madeira wine
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Garnish with cilantro sprigs if desired
What’s so great about this recipe is that after you brown the chicken), you add all of the other ingredients at once. This means you can assemble it all in one bowl. It makes the prep easy to clean up later.
Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. When hot, add the chicken pieces and brown, stirring frequently, for five minutes. Add everything else to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over couscous.
Caveat: I have a gas stove and if I cook the mixture on medium over my largest burner, the sauce cooks down very quickly. I usually turn it down to low to simmer, and I usually only cook it for about 5 more minutes. Obviously, you want to be sure you cook it long enough to make sure your chicken is thoroughly cooked, but with bite-size pieces, I think 5 minutes is long enough. You can always remove a piece from the skillet to check. The sauce should be thick, but not entirely evaporated.
I hope you will love this recipe as much as I do. The combination of sweet figs with the briny olives is very special and different. If you want to add just a tad more brightness, you could grate a little lemon zest over the top, but that's a matter of personal taste.
I think the recipe would also be good with other dried fruits, such as apricots or plums. Don't tell my husband, though, because I like it the way it is!