Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Recipe Time: Moroccan Chicken in the Kitchen!

Glory, hallelujah! My fiancé likes to cook. While I enjoy perusing the recipe boards on Pinterest, pinning delicious concoctions and pretending like I'm going to one day make them, Adam actually gets in the kitchen and makes the magic happen. Now, don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't enjoy cooking. I just recognize that he's more naturally inclined in the kitchen, and I don't mind letting him nurture his talent.

It's actually very gracious of me, don't you think?

So after receiving a lovely jar of Meyer lemon preserves from Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California (aka. wine country), he decided to make me dinner last night, using a recipe for Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Meyer Lemons and Green Olives from Epicurious. I never say 'no' to Moroccan inspired food OR to a man who wants to cook me dinner.

And since recipes are sometimes hard to follow without pictures, he allowed me to photograph the affair so that your attempt at this would be a cinch. See? I'm good for something in the kitchen!

To prep, cut 2 medium white onions into slices 1/4 inch thick.
Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves.
Cut 16 pitted green olives in half (we went to the olive bar at our local market and bought the exact amount that we needed, but you can also find them canned).
Scrape the pulp from 8 pieces of preserved Meyer lemon (I enjoyed eating the pulp while taking pictures... so tasty).
Cut the remaining Meyer lemon rinds into very thin strips.
Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper (we only used 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves although the recipe calls for 4).
Heat 1-2 Tbs. of organic virgin coconut oil (thank you, Trader Joes!) in a large pot or skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. 
Now add the chicken and saute on both sides until golden brown - about 3 minutes on each side.
Like so. Now transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm.
Without cleaning the pot, reduce the heat to moderate and cook the onions and garlic, stirring frequently until softened but not browned - approximately 8-10 minutes.
Add 1/2 tsp. of turmeric and black pepper, stirring for 1 minute to coat.
Now add the lemon rinds...
the green olives...
1/2 cup organic chicken broth...
... and 1/4 cup dry white wine.
Return the chicken (and any juices that accumulated on the plate) to the pan.
Cover the pot or skillet and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through - about 12 minutes.
Serve sprinkled with fresh cilantro. This dish is excellent atop a bed of plain red quinoa and sauteed broccoli rabe. The juices from the skillet provide all the sauce you need for the quinoa and broccoli rabe, which by themselves take just minutes to make.
While a seriously awesome dinner on a Tuesday is all well and good, it's even more exciting when you understand that dinner's nutritional value. So here we go...

Coconut oil (which we've substituted for the suggested olive oil) - Coconut oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil, meaning it's much safer to cook with. Coconut oil is a great source of healthy, plant-based fats. It's been shown to regulate blood sugar, improve calcium and magnesium absorption in the body, boost the thyroid and help support the immune system.

Onion - Alliinase, the same enzyme in onions that makes you cry, actually assists in the formation of immune-building compounds! These compounds help protect you from the development of certain cancers by preventing tumors from obtaining a blood supply.

Garlic - Eating garlic seems to boost your body's natural supply of hydrogen sulfide, which acts as an antioxidant and appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancers.

Turmeric - Turmeric is a spice that you most often see in Indian curries. It has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, the active component of turmeric, can help reduce carcinogenic compounds that form when meats are barbecued, boiled or fried. It has also been shown to inhibit the growth of melanoma and slow the spread of breast cancer into the lungs.

Meyer Lemons - A Meyer lemon is a citrus hybrid - the combination of a lemon and a mandarin. Meyer lemons are packed with vitamin C (which boosts your immune system) and antioxidants (which help protect you from heart disease, cancer and even aging)! They're also great for detox!

Green olives - The monounsaturated fats in green olives help regulate bad cholesterol, while also protecting the outer membranes of your cells. Also, the vitamin E and flavonoids in green olives help your body fight cancer-causing free radicals.

Cilantro - Cilantro is packed with phytochemicals, plant-based nutrients that help the body fight disease and aging. 

So there you have it! A delicious dinner with lots of added nutritional perks!

Can I get an 'Amen'?

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