MOROCCAN BRAISED CHICKEN WITH CARROT MINT COUSCOUS Chicken is easily cooked and just as easily flavored. Its Moroccan street cred goes up with ras el hanout—literally “best of the shop”—a custom blend of the best spices in the shop by the bargaining merchant. Just like the blends I tasted in the casbahs and souks of Marrakesh. SERVES 4 TO 6 For the chicken A splash of vegetable oil 6 chicken thighs complete with skin and bones 1 carrot, chopped 2 onions, chopped 4 garlic cloves, sliced 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of ras el hanout ½ cup (125 mL) of pistachios ½ cup (125 mL) of kalamata olives ½ cup (125 mL) of halved dried figs ½ cup (125 mL) of orange marmalade 1 cup (250 mL) of orange juice The zest and juice of 1 lemon ½ teaspoon (2 mL) of salt For the carrot mint couscous 1½ cups (375 mL) of water 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of olive oil 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of any vinegar 1 carrot, shredded Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh mint, sliced 1 cup (250 mL) of couscous ½ teaspoon (2 mL) of salt Match your favorite heavy skillet with a tight-fitting lid and medium-high heat. Splash and swirl in enough vegetable oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken thighs and sear the first side until golden brown and crusty, to minutes. Flip and sear the second side until it’s equally golden brown. The goal here is not to fully cook the meat but just to add lots of brown flavor while the pan temperature is high. Reduce the heat to medium and transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the carrot, onions, and garlic to the pan. Sauté for a minute or two, heating through. Sprinkle in the ras el hanout and sauté for a minute or so more, softening textures and brightening spice flavors. Stir in the pistachios, olives, figs, marmalade, orange juice, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Bring the works to a slow, steady simmer. Return the chicken and any juices to the pan, cover tightly, lower the heat further, and continue to gently simmer until the thighs reach an internal temperature of ˚f (˚c), about minutes. While the chicken is simmering, prepare the couscous. In a small pot, bring the water, olive oil, and vinegar to a steady simmer, stirring along the way. Turn off the heat. Stir in the carrot, mint, couscous, and salt, then immediately cover with a tight-fitting lid. Let rest for at least minutes—long enough for the chicken to catch up! Dinner is ready to eat now, but if you have time for maximum tenderness, adjust your heat to the lowest setting and carry on simmering the chicken for another minutes or so. T WIST In the universal spirit of spice blending you can easily craft your own custom blend of ras el hanout inspired by Moroccan spice shops. Remember all the “c” spices: cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, chili powder, cumin, caraway, and even curry. I like to add a bit of fennel seed and dried ginger too. You’ll be amazed how fragrant, delicious, and simple it can be to blend your own in a jar. BACK TO BASICS BACK TO BASICS PHOTO CREDIT: JAMES INGRAM Michael Smith has been passionate about cooking simple, great-tasting food since his mom first introduced him to cooking at an early age. Since then, Michael has become one of Canada’s most successful cookbook writers and a hugely popular celebrity chef on Food Network Canada. But, never far from his own home kitchen, it’s the time-tested basic recipes that he regularly cooks for his family. In Back to Basics, Michael shares 100 sure-fire classic recipes, tips, and cooking techniques. And, in every recipe he shows how easy it is to add a twist or two to your cooking. Chock full of mouth-watering photography to inspire, Back to Basics is Michael’s simple approach to cooking basics that he wants to share with every home cook. Once you understand the basics behind a recipe, you can then stir your personality into your cooking. You’ll see how easy it is to impress family and friends in your own kitchen. And, once you know the basic rules, you can break them. You’ll never get stuck making a dish just one way! Inside, you’ll find Michael’s favorite classic recipes like Crispy Crusty Chicken Strips with Global Dips, Beef Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust, Bacon Roast Pork Tenderloin, Tomato Basil Crusted Whitefish, Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Sage Butternut Squash Sauce, and Bacon & Blue Cheese Risotto. And, no meal is complete without dessert, so try making classic sweet treats like Pumpkin Pie Tarts, Apple Cinnamon Fritters, and Peanut Butter Brownies. Michael’s passionate commitment to cooking simple classic recipes will inspire and guide you as you impress yourself in your own kitchen. Enjoy! Chef Michael Smith is the bestselling author of six cookbooks including Fast Flavours, Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen, and The Best of Chef at Home. He is the popular host of several Food Network TV shows including Chef Michael’s Kitchen, Chef at Home, and Chef Abroad. Michael is a passionate advocate of simple sustainable flavors and the growing Canadian cuisine movement. He lives on Prince Edward Island with his partner, Chastity, and their children, Gabe, Ariella, and Camille. PenguinCanada .ca On sale September 3, 2013 | 8½ x 11 | 272 pages | $32.00 | Full-color photography throughout 978-0-14-318410-2 | Original Trade Paperback | Cover and food photography: Ryan Szulc TOC photography: James Ingram For publicity enquiries, please contact Trish Bunnett at [email protected] or at 416-928-2408 All material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced without explicit written permission from Penguin Group (Canada).
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