Weekly Winner:  Moroccan Magic -All on one sheet pan!

I don’t mind complicated, time-consuming recipes. If I know that the end result is going to be a meal with wonderful, complex flavors and textures I will gladly tend to a dish for however long it takes.  Sometimes, cooking really is a labor of love and a definite time commitment.  Having said all that, if I can throw some meat in a marinade for a few hours and then dump an entire meal on a sheet pan and walk away for a while and come back and be blown away with the results — sign me up!!  That’s what happened last night when hubby and I were transported to Morocco after only investing about 20 minutes of active prep time in the kitchen.

Our magic carpet to Morocco was Curried Chicken Thighs with Cauliflower, Apricots and Olives compliments of Fine Cooking magazine.  This dish has a ton going on flavor-wise and is an absolute breeze to prepare.  The spices in the chicken give it a definite kick but the sweetness of the apricots and the briny punch of the olives brought the whole dish together.  As easy as it was to make — it’s even easier to clean up!    This will definitely find its way into heavy rotation here during the busy fall and winter months.  To be honest, the recipe does call for 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro to be sprinkled on the dish before serving, but seriously folks, you know me…. that is not happening!

Curried Chicken Thighs with Cauliflower, Apricots and Olives

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lbs total)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

4 tsp curry powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets

3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and drained

1 cup pitted green olives, halved or quartered if large

1 large lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Procedure:

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken thighs with 2 Tbsp of the oil, the vinegar, 2 tsp of the curry powder, 1/2 tsp of the paprika, the cinnamon, cayenne, and 3/4 tsp salt, tossing to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or up to overnight.

Position rack in the center of oven and preheat oven to 450F degrees.  Line a large rimmed sheet pan with parchment.  On the pan, combine the cauliflower with the remaining 2 Tbsp oil, 2 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, and 3/4 tsp salt, tossing to coat.  Add the apricots and olives and spread in a single layer.

Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, fold them back into their original shape, and place them on top of the cauliflower, spaced evenly apart. (Discard any remaining marinade). Roast, rotating the pan halfway through until the cauliflower browns and the chicken cooks through (165F), about 35 minutes.

Remove chicken from the pan and toss the cauliflower mixture with the pan drippings.  Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

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