One of my favorite cuisines is Mediterranean--it is the food from the different cultures adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean cuisine is not Spanish, French, or Italian food--because of the complexity of its history, cultures, religions, and geography. Mediterranean food has developed not as national cuisines but as a variety of regional cuisines based on an extreme geography.One of the regions is Morocco and its cuisine is extremely diverse due to its interaction with other cultures and nation over the centuries. Their food is colorful, and tastefully seasoned with herbs and spices to create a rich and flavorful aroma. I stumbled upon this recipe online while searching for Argan oil (more about this wonderful oil in my next post).
1 small free-range chicken, giblets removed
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup preserved black or green olives
10 small shallots, peeled
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped finely
½ cup onions, minced finely
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. grounded ginger
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped parsley
2 preserved lemons, chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp Saffron, soaked in a little lukewarm water.
1 tsp. salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 420°F. In a large pot, combine all the seasonings and mix well. Rub the inside and out of the chicken with this mixture. Marinate the chicken for about an hour.
2. Cook chicken with its seasonings on medium high for half an hour. Add the shallots in the last half hour through cooking. When chicken is done, remove most of the juice out to the pot and leave chicken to drain on a colander. Add olives to the sauce and simmer on low to thicken sauce.
3. Put chicken on baking pan and bake breast-side up until golden brown. Remove and carve chicken when cool enough to handle. Serve chicken with sauce, along with other side dishes, such as couscous with nuts and vegetables.