Monday, May 2, 2011

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken and Rice Bake

     Every once in a while you are lucky enough to find a recipe that hits it out of the park. Not only is this Moroccan chicken super easy to make, it has just the right amount of spices to give it a warm, exotic flavor.  I found it on the Nestle website.  The most difficult part of making this is cooking the rice beforehand.  I did make a couple of changes, one by accident.  Instead of mixing 2 tsp. of the spice blend with the chicken I used 2 Tblsp..  When I make it again I will do it the same way, I liked the extra flavor on the chicken.  Also, I only added 1/2 tsp. salt, made it with boneless, skinless thighs and used fat free evaporated milk.  The lemony, creamy rice and moist chicken are enveloped in the most inviting scent of fragrant spices.  Be sure to move the bottom coals into a ring when you add the rice, it was ready in 30 minutes with one rotation.  Grate some of the lemon zest along with the juice into the rice if you really want to give it a zing. 

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken & Rice Bake
6 cups cooked long or medium grain white or brown rice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika
8 chicken thighs, skin removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (12 fl. oz.)  Evaporated Milk
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, drained
2/3 cup raisins
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds (optional)

     Cook 3 cups of rice on your stove or in second dutch oven to yield 6 cups of cooked rice.
     Combine cumin, salt, black pepper and paprika in a small bowl: sprinkle 2 teaspoons of spice blend on both sides of chicken thighs.
     Heat olive oil and garlic in 12 inch dutch oven over a full spread of coals.  Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes per side or until browned.
     Meanwhile, combine cooked rice, evaporated milk, tomatoes, raisins, lemon juice and remaining spice blend in large bowl.
     Remove chicken from dutch oven and set on platter.
     Pour rice mixture into bottom of dutch oven, stirring in garlic and olive oil.  Place chicken thighs on top of rice mixture.
     Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees or until chicken is no longer pink in center.  Sprinkle with almonds before serving.  If you use boneless, skinless thighs, reduce cooking time by 10 minutes.  Serves 8.

Brown chicken thighs in oil and garlic

Chicken nestled in a bed of aromatic rice

Garnish with toasted almonds

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