MOROCCAN CHICKEN STEW

 

I’m obsessed with my 360 Cookware slow cooker now that it’s getting a bit chilly. It’s the most user-friendly model I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tested a few,) – I think it’s because it’s easy to start it off on the stove top and transfer to the base. It also works better period – I won’t go into it here – but if you want to find out about the technology of these pans- check it out.

Anyway, with Halloween coming up, I wanted to try out a really tasty stew that I could have bubbling away sending a delicious aroma throughout my home. Halloween night, we’ll probably go to a friend’s pot luck party where there’s tons of chili and cornbread, but this might be a good variation for those who prefer chicken.

After the chicken has slow-cooked for hours – it fall apart, much like pulled pork, into the rich, unctuous stew of bright orange apricots and crunchy cashews. The sweet of the fruit pairs beautifully with the salty olives. It’s perfect served with either quinoa, cous cous or brown rice and I like to serve it with a simple dark green leaf salad – I prepared a spinach and arugula salad with a balsamic fig dressing.

Although there’s a lot of ingredients in the recipe, once gathered, it’s really quick and easy to prepare – 15 minutes tops.

This recipe of for 8 so if there’s fewer of you, it freezes really well.

 

Moroccan Chicken Stew

Serves 8

1tbsp grapeseed or canola oil

1 medium onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup sweet white wine

1tbsp balsamic vinegar

1tsp of the following: turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander

1 cinnamon stick

8-10 pearl onions

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 bayleaves

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 tsp of cornstarch or Tapioca starch

2tsp cold water

1 1/2 cups dried apricots

1 1/2 cups Kalamata olives

1 15oz can garbanzo beans

1 cup raw cashew nuts

2tsp sea salt

1tsp agave nectar

1/2tsp ground pepper

 

Heat the oil and fry off the onions.

 

Add the spices and fry for a minute on a low heat.

 

Add the pearl onions and fry gently for another minute.

Add the white wine and stir until it evaporates.

Add the chicken, the broth and the bayleaves.

 

Remove pan and transfer to slow cooker and turn onto a high heat.

Mix the tapioca/cornstarch with the water in a cup and  mix into the stew.

Cook on high for 1/2 hour and then turn down heat to medium (for 4- 6 hours). If it’s a bit longer, it’ll be fine – so don’t rush back from work.

Half and hour before eating, add the apricots, olives, cashew nuts and stir in the agave , balsamic vinegar, and seasoning.

 

 

PUTTANESCA TART

This might look like a pizza, but it’s actually a buttery tart loaded with caramelized onions and all the tangy Summer tastes that make up a traditional Puttanesca: tomatoes, olives, capers, basil and anchovies (if you like them.) It makes a perfect early Fall lunch or light dinner.

As there are still loads of beautiful heirloom tomatoes in the farmer’s markets and grocery stores, grab a few in preferably different colors as they work beautifully in this recipe.

I have used a buttery flaky pastry, which you can buy, but it’s honesty so easy to make – why bother. Also homemade pastry is unbeatable.

Puttanesca Tart

Pastry:

4 ounces butter

6 ounces flour

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1tsp salt

7tbsp icy water

1 egg yolk

1tsp water

Tart Topping:

3 large onions, thinly sliced

3tbsp olive oil

1tsp fresh thyme

3 large heirloom tomatoes

1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

2tbsp capers

6 anchovies (optional)

A large handful of fresh basil leaves.

 

Put the butter in a piece of foil and place in the freezer the night before. Place the flour, salt and oregano in a large bowl. Grate the butter and add to the flour.

Mix well to combine. Add the icy water and use your hands to form the mixture into a ball of dough. Place it in a plastic bag for at least 45 minutes.

Take the pastry out 10 minutes before you are going to use it. Roll it out on a floured board into a rough oblong shape and carefully transfer to a greased baking sheet.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the onions.

Turn the heat down low and gently fry the onions for about 20 minutes until they caramelize. Transfer to a plate so cool.

Slice the tomatoes and place on a piece of kitchen towel on a large plate so that the juice drains off slightly.

Beat the egg yolk and add a 1tsp water. Use a brush to brush the edges of the pastry.

Pile the onions over the pastry making sure the whole tart is covered.

Arrange the tomatoes on top, followed by the olives, capers and anchovies.

Place it in the oven for 20 minutes or until the edges of the tart becomes crispy and lightly browned.

Allow it to cool to room temperature and before serving, add some fresh basil leaves.