Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
22 Aug

Moroccan Chicken Casserole

moroccan chickenWe all know the saying: variety is the spice of life.

Everyone craves variety on some level, especially when it comes to what we’re eating. What is the easiest way to add variety to your meals? Turn that phrase around and you’ll have the answer: Spice is the variety of life in the kitchen.

Take a look at your spice rack. Salt, pepper, maybe some dried oregano. How about paprika and cinnamon? What about cumin, turmeric, or coriander? These aromatic seasonings can enhance anything you’re cooking. If you’re overwhelmed by all the options in the spice aisle, consider using a spice blend such as curry powder, Cajun rub or Chinese five spice. A tablespoon or less sprinkled over meat before you cook it will add a whole new dimension of flavor. If you’re feeling adventurous, buy a bunch of different spices and play around with combinations.

A blend of cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon gives chicken and cauliflower a Moroccan twist. The spices mostly add depth of flavor, with just a little bit of heat. If you want a dish that’s truly spicy, that’s where cayenne comes in.

If you’re just starting to add a new variety of spices to your pantry, the spice aisle at a grocery store is a decent place to get started. If you’re really serious about exploring spices, though, you’ll want to look for either a store that specializes in just spices or an ethnic grocery store where you can buy small amounts in bulk. Ideally, buy your spices whole and grind them with a coffee grinder right before use.

Either way, remember this – spices don’t stay fragrant and flavorful forever. They fade over time. If you’ve had a spice for six months or more, stick your nose in the jar. If there’s no aroma it’s likely there won’t be any flavor either.

Ingredients:

other ingredients

1 head cauliflower
2-3 pounds of chicken
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ginger root, finely chopped or grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional – the other spices will already add a bit of spiciness to the dish, so only add the cayenne if you want a really spicy dish)
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
28-ounce can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1/2 cup minced parsley or cilantro
2 tsp salt
1 lemon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

The base of the casserole is cauliflower grated into a rice-like texture. Chop the head of cauliflower into small pieces. Push the pieces through a food processor using the grating blade. Spread the grated cauliflower out in a 9×13 rectangular baking pan.

cauliflower rice

Salt and pepper the chicken. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a deep pan over high heat. Add the chicken, browning well, about 3-5 minutes a side.

chicken browned

Remove the chicken from the hot pan and set aside. Turn heat down to medium and add onion, ginger, garlic and carrots. Cook until the onions are soft. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and all spices. Stir well.

spices

Add red pepper, the can of tomatoes, minced parsley or cilantro and salt. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Pour the chicken mixture over the cauliflower and mix really well, so the cauliflower is completely covered by the sauce. Slice a lemon into thin slices and lay on top of the casserole. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and cook for 25 minutes more.

casserole uncooked

Garnish with more fresh parsley or cilantro before serving.

moroccan chicken

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. First comment wins the timer, right?

    BShannon wrote on August 22nd, 2009
    • Timer or no timer that recipe is looks to die for!!!!
      Amy

      Amy wrote on August 22nd, 2009
      • cilantro is to die for!!!

        gavin wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  2. Good idea with the cauliflower. I could use that to make some of my non-primal friends into eating my food :)

    Matt wrote on August 22nd, 2009
    • I have used mashed cauliflower mixed with organic milk and real butter to mock mashed potatoes with pork chops and it really hits the spot and is minus the carbohydrate and starch you get ftrom regular potatoes!

      Amy wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  3. Yes, never thought of doing that will cauliflower.
    This does look yummy – shame I just literally came back from shopping and didn’t buy chicken this week.

    Indiscreet wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  4. mmm, some druel-worthy chicken.
    Great idea to mix things up with spices, I’ll have to try this since I’ve been eating quite blandly lately with salt and pepper on my foods.

    Iceskater wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  5. Great recepie, love me some spices. I’m gonna try it when my mate returns home, when I’m alone I stick to eggs and pork chops with raw veggies as the easy fix.

    … come on, timer!

    GrokTheBoat wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  6. mmmmmm

    Dan wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  7. I haven’t used cauliflower in an application like this yet.

    William wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  8. If I can make that for my Mom, she’ll never go back to Conventional Wisdom Casserole. Primal Moroccan Chicken Casserole baby!

    Ben wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  9. No sugar! Use spice and everything nice. That’s what Groks are made of

    Alyie wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  10. You can also use cauliflower to make a substitute for mashed potatoes. Boil or steam it till it’s over cooked and soft, then mash just like you would potatoes.

    Chad Cilli wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  11. Cauliflower has now become a staple for me! This looks yummy-I’ll be making it this week. . .any idea about the nutrient ratios?

    Catalina wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  12. Good idea with the cauliflower. Can’t wait to try it!

    Brian Weinhaus wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  13. This is a total drool-worthy post! I can’t wait to try it. I myself have been trying to create a Biriyani recipe with cauliflower.

    maba wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  14. wow i’m speechless. this looks amazing.

    Will wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  15. Looks great!
    will have to try using the califlower more.

    David Tozzo wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  16. Love using cauliflower as rice substitute…hate the mess.

    Wendy wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  17. That looks insanely delicious. Wish I read the blog this morning before I went to the store since I’m missing a few things.

    Mike wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  18. My Ukrainian genetics are expressed themselves the moment that I read about the 2 cloves of garlic! *grabs a rag to towel off* Moroccan Chicken Casserole, here I come!

    thebkon wrote on August 22nd, 2009
    • *Slips in a pool of own saliva*

      thebkon wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  19. “Either way, remember this – spices don’t stay fragrant and flavorful forever. They fade over time. If you’ve had a spice for six months or more, stick your nose in the jar. If there’s no aroma it’s likely there won’t be any flavor either.”

    Excellent advice. I have a cupboard full of spices I’ve had for years… methinks it’s time to clean it out.

    Min wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  20. Off to get some chicken thawed…

    lbd wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  21. I’ve read a ton of reviews that the gymboss is super useful, but I still haven’t gotten around to buying one. Something about a beep yelling at you to do your next round rather than remembering to look at your watch sounds fun.

    AndreaC wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  22. That looks SO. GOOD. *DROOL*

    suzyschnitz wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  23. I need a timer.

    Terry Gilmore wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  24. Oh yeah! This is going on the dinner table this week!!!

    sofiawahaj wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  25. Fairly long ingredient list, but the main idea is sound. I’m sure one could omit several ingredients and the dish would still be palatable.

    Allez wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  26. I buy bulk turmeric and coriander from a local Asian supply store! I love it for making Jerky and Curries

    Looking forward to grating some cauliflower and making the apartment smell gooood

    Max Lambert wrote on August 22nd, 2009
    • Thanks for mentioning this! Spices are a lot cheaper that way, and you get a chance to talk to the folks in the shop ;-)
      You can put a little of each into the spice rack jars so it’s convenient, and leave the rest wrapped up in the fridge to stay fresh.

      This recipe looks like MAJOR comfort food. I’m SO making this Monday (IF-ing it Sunday)

      kuno1chi wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  27. Yum. I think this will be ready for lunch today. Time to walk to the store.

    Jeffrey K wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  28. Sounds soo good …. the timer that is.

    John Gillis wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  29. I love Moroccan dishes! I was in Morocco 12 years ago and ate a Pigeon stuffed with Couscous, it actually did taste sorta like Chicken :) This dish looks Yummy…

    Nicola M wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  30. I’m a huge fan of cauliflower rice, and this looks amazing!

    Kane wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  31. It seems that it would be just as easy to finish cooking this on the stovetop, or to do the browning of the chicken and spices in a cast-iron dutch over that can go from the burner to the oven. I do a Moroccan stew that’s similar to this and that works beautifully for me.

    chickadee wrote on August 22nd, 2009
    • Except, of course, that this stew has tomatoes in it, so you wouldn’t want to use cast-iron for this one. But a good sturdy pot of some other material that can also go in the oven would work fine.

      chickadee wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  32. Mmmm. Spicy!

    cwdana wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  33. Thanks again Mark!

    Charles Olson wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  34. So many of my favorite ingredients in one beautiful dish!

    Helen wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  35. This looks so good! Most cauliflower rice recipes I see grate the cauliflower after cooking, but I think it makes more sense to do it before hand like this recipe shows.

    Lori wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  36. Can’t wait to try it.

    Brian Whiddon wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  37. Yum! Excellent photos, too. I lurrrve Moroccan food…

    Adam Kayce wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  38. This looks really good. Cauliflower is actually one of my 7 year old daughter’s favorite foods! Chicken is the only meat she likes. Thanks for this!

    Alison Simspon wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  39. Looks delicious. When I first saw the picture of the grated cauliflower I thought it was rice and was surprised because we’re primal!

    Alicia wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  40. Lookin good!

    Kevin Croke wrote on August 22nd, 2009

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple