We 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Garnish with more fresh parsley or cilantro before serving.