Chicken thighs, massaged with a Moroccan medley of spices, browned in a splash of oil and nestled in a pool of broth for stovetop braising yield a flavorful, succulent entree. Top the dish with a tangy lemony sauce and shazam! this becomes another weeknight favorite. It won't win top honors for beauty, but with some creative plating it might appear at a company dinner or two in the future.
When rushed for time I've prepared this in the pressure cooker, but feel more in control of the results with stovetop braising. Either way, Moroccan Chicken is a surprisingly tasty dinner item; much more than the sum of its parts. What more could you ask of the ubiquitous chicken thigh?
|Photo: Braised chicken thighs on a bed of raw kale|
|Photo: Braised chicken thighs with lemon, olive & caper sauce|
Moroccan Spice Rub
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 large chicken thighs, bone-in & skin-on
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 TBS minced or mashed garlic cloves
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 heaping TBS capers
1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped in large chunks
1 scant TBS cornstarch (as needed)
4 cups kale, julienned for serving (optional)
Cooked couscous or wild rice mixture for serving (optional)
For the Chicken
- Combine the spice rub ingredients and rub the mixture over both sides of the chicken. Set aside for 10-15 minutes while you assemble and chop the remaining ingredients.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the thighs on both sides until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes total. Remove to a plate; set aside.
- Remove all but a tablespoon of fat from the skillet; add the onion and garlic and cook for a minute or two until the onion softens. Add the chicken broth. Place the thighs back in the skillet, presentation side up; cover and cook over medium-low heat until chicken is no longer pink, about 30 minutes.
- Line a serving bowl or rimmed platter with the julienned kale (if using). Place the cooked thighs on the kale and hold in a warm oven (or cover with foil to keep warm) while finishing the sauce.
- Stir in the lemon juice, capers and olives. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat, and reduce to thicken slightly and concentrate the cooking liquid. (Add a slurry of cornstarch dissolved in cold water as needed to thicken sauce if desired.)
- Pour the sauce over and around the chicken and serve accompanied with flavorful couscous or herbed rice.