Sometimes the Practical Cook gets a certain “flavor idea” stuck in her head. Whereas someone else might have a song or a scene from a movie, I often walk around with a craving for something very specific that I haven’t eaten before. As the chicken thighs were thawing in the fridge, my mind turned to a dish I made badly 10 years ago. It was time to take another swing at Braised Moroccan Chicken.
Braised Moroccan Chicken Recipe
For anyone who is a stickler, note that this recipe is vaguely Moroccan in theme, and makes no claims of authenticity. I can tell you that it’s simple, flavorful, and delicious. Watch the video for guidance in how to braise this dish!
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter, divided
4 to 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs patted dry
salt and pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 or 2 lemons, washed and quartered
1 orange (blood, navel, orangey orange, whatever you’ve got), washed and quartered
~12 green olives (the standard stuffed grocery store kind works just fine)
orange juice or white wine or chicken stock or a combo
1. Put olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of the butter in a large deep skillet and heat over medium-high heat until butter is melted and foaming but not brown.
2. While skillet is heating, rub chicken with salt and pepper and paprika. When the skillet is ready, put the seasoned chicken thighs in skin-side down and brown, turning at least once, around 10 minutes total, adding onions after you’ve turned the chicken once.
3. When the chicken is browned and the onions are softened, add the garlic cloves to the pan. Ssqueeze the juice from the oranges and lemons (through a strainer if they’re seedy characters), then toss them into the pan. Add the olives. Finally, deglaze the pan with a measure of orange juice, wine, stock or a combo. (If you choose wine, make it a combo unless you want drunken thighs.) The amount will depend on how much sauce you like, how big your pan is, and how many thighs are in there. This isn’t soup, don’t fill the skillet.
4. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the chicken for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part (not touching bone) reads between 155 and 165 degrees. If you ignored my ingredients list and are using chicken breasts (which I hope are bone in and skin on), yank them out sooner.
5. When the chicken is cooked, remove and set on a plate to rest. Reduce the sauce a bit, then turn off the heat and add the final tablespoon of butter you probably thought I had forgotten about. Return the chicken to the pan, dunk it well, serve, preferably over couscous.
Feel free to garnish with chopped parsley for brightness and interest. Watch out for seeds, and don’t eat the now thoroughly cooked lemon/orange rinds.
Coming up tomorrow, the stunning conclusion to this meal, Moroccan French Toast. Believe me, you want to show up for this one.
Are you a braised chicken fan? How do you keep your poultry from being or becoming bored? Drop me a line at practical cook at gmail dot com.