I personally hate it when people talk about the weather. It’s much safer and politics, a lot less personal than religion, but as far as small talk, there are so many more subjects one can cover. I do understand however; weather really does dictate our lives, thus being a very easy and relatable topic.
Since the ski season this year has been less than stellar, I haven’t done a whole lot this winter. There was a brief tease of snow, which allowed me daily snow-shoeing behind my house, but then it rained; melting all of the snow. After that it was just cold. Ugh.
I’ve finally realized why the rest of the world goes south and craves topical flavours during the dreary, cold and stuffy winter months. We need change, we need sunshine and freshness; a drastic and welcome alternative to the normally heavy, butter-rich dishes of wintertime.
Morocco is definitely not the Caribbean, but it is exotic and different from the norm. It’s known for its warming spices, citrus notes, dried fruits and well-balanced flavours. That is to say, cinnamon and orange are not uncommon around this time of year, however this particular application is a new and welcome twist on the usual chicken dish.
- 2 small onions, quartered
- 1 piece fresh ginger, 1½ inch (4 cm) peeled
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup (250 mL) chicken stock
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 tsp (5 mL) each ground cumin and coriander
- 1 bottle passata di pomodoro
- (strained tomatoes), 680 mL
- 2 lbs (1 kg) boneless skinless chicken breasts,cut into thin strips (about 5 large breasts)
- 2 cups raisins or other mixture of dried fruit (apricots, figs, prunes)
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) warm milk
- ½ tsp (2 mL) saffron threads
- ⅓ cup (75 mL) plain yogurt
- Juice of 1 lemon or 2 tangerines
- *Optional* 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
- In a medium-sized heavy bottom pot, add water and coconut milk. Bring to a boil
- Add rice and cover with lid and let simmer about 15 minutes, until liquid is completely dissolved.
- Fluff with fork and serve.