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. Nice recipe, will try it next week!

    George wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  2. This might be the best recipe you’ve ever posted! I’m making it ASAP!

    Roland wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  3. I’m already loving cauliflower rice so this HAS to be good. Definitely trying this.

    Shaun wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  4. I wonder if the cauliflower rice will work in my Blendtec? I’ll try it because this looks like great fuel for my first Tabata Sprints!

    crunchysue wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  5. Crap… Now I have to get a food processor.

    Andrew wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  6. Looking forward to trying it!

    Chris wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  7. since there are so many comments here, i’m sure this valuable piece of advice will be totally ignored. but, for what it’s worth:
    MAKE MOROCCAN SALTED PRESERVED LEMONS
    seriously, they will add that special something to this dish, and so many others (I like to put it on salmon, especially). http://mideastfood.about.com/od/tipsandtechniques/a/preservedlemons.htm
    I would also add green olives to this dish, which is pretty classic in a moroccan tagine. wow i’m hungry now. i think i’ll go eat me some chicken.

    gwen wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  8. This looks like a great recipe. Thanks for posting

    MikeP wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  9. Yum! This looks tasty!!! I’m trying this next week.

    Yummy wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  10. looks great. i use the cauliflower trick for some thai dishes too.

    johnny wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  11. I’m a spice junkie. Also, I’m going to have to try this recipe, it looks delicious.

    SarahRingo wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  12. Great recipe!

    Claudia Roden (eg, Arabesque, A Taste of Morocco, Turkey & Lebanon) says ginger is said to make people loving!

    Should know that butter on high heat can burn. Use medium heat is OK. Clarified butter or ghee won’t burn.

    mcoz-09 wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  13. Note that some spices have compounds that may be genotoxic or carcinogenic to humans – but the jury is still out on it.

    The European Union has some advisories on the compounds Safrole, Coumarin and Methyleugenol. They’re advising to be careful with these. Pesto and cinnamon both contain a fair bit of these compounds (as do nutmeg, anise and basil).

    For more information, see http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/chemicalsafety/flavouring/scientificadvice_en.htm

    It’s always hard to figure out how much of an issue this is, but I do try to limit my pesto and cinnamon intake these days.

    Gerard wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  14. My spices are old, so I just use more – especially cayenne!

    Dave wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  15. Looks excellent. Like any good meal it will take a bit of effort but surely pay off!

    Chris - ZTF wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  16. This sounds great….I’ve been looking for something new to do with cauliflower. It’s so boring steamed.

    Steve wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  17. looks delicious!

    mom500 wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  18. End result looks good, but even though cauliflower can be a good rice substitute (texturally), I find that my body does not like it very much. If you cook it long enough, the taste is very mild, but no matter the preparation, I always feel bloated after eating it. I may try the spices in the recipe though.

    jive wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  19. Yes, my spice cabinet has all of those! This looks like a winner for chicken.

    Katt wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  20. I love cauliflower rice!

    Eric Ward wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  21. this looks so good right now. better than any other heavy carb dish i can think of.

    BurritoKid wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  22. This looks delicious! Me and my girlfriend are going to try this when we can…

    DavidBurbridge wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  23. Spicy food is a gift from the gods.

    Karl T wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  24. Count me in! For both the casserole and the timer!

    emmcubed wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  25. *Looking at my cabinet* I need to use more of my collection of spices before it all goes flat.

    Kiran wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  26. Guess what we are having for dinner tonight!

    Chris wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  27. Looking forward to trying this one. Always looking for a good wasy to use cauliflower!

    Jim wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  28. must have tabata timer…

    sean wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  29. I wondered what the shredded looking base was when I first saw the picture. At first I thought it was shredded chicken. That would be a sweet casserole, chicken on top of more chicken.

    Duane Stevens wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  30. This looks fantastic. I can’t wait to try it!

    Heather wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  31. I realize this recipe calls for baking, but the picture of the chicken in the pan is inspiring. I’ve always put bone-in pieces in the oven for whatever reason, so I’d like to know if they cook well in the pan like that.

    Rob C. wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  32. yummy!

    sarah wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  33. Wow, that looks awesome, so colorful! Thanks!

    CardioJunkie wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  34. Seriously, this looks amazing and I will make it this week.

    Thank you worker bees!

    Bryce wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  35. sweet, been looking for an excuse to kill my chicken

    Anders wrote on August 22nd, 2009
    • best comment ever.

      especially if you’re serious.

      FlyNavyWife wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  36. Mmmmmm…….tabata……

    Ben Owen wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  37. This looks delicious!

    Gymboss=BEST TIMER EVER!

    Clint wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  38. I love putting cauliflower in a food processor and using it for rice sub, pizza crust sub. It’s such a great versatile vegetable, and almost no calories.

    Blake wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  39. wow this looks really delicious.

    Autumn wrote on August 22nd, 2009
  40. I’ll have to try this! Awesome!!

    Barry Napier wrote on August 22nd, 2009

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