Moroccan Roast Chicken on Quinoa

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Happy New Year!

I have big resolutions for this year and am going to try to make 2013 the best year ever for my health, home, and heart. I know some people feel resolutions aren’t great and indeed, we should make an effort to live up to our best everyday, but sometimes we need a clean slate, a new number, a fresh start, a blank page, and all that. So here’s to letting go of what is hard to carry and picking up what will make us strong. Everything we put into our bodies, let into our lives, and fill our time and tummies with, will make us more or less strong, healthy, and happy. There is no neutral in 2013. There is no boring, apathetic, over-compromised, or just downright not good enough. So, let’s stick together. You keep reading and give ideas when moved and I’ll deliver some inspiration that might line up with your own resolutions, too. Starting with this awesome roast chicken.

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This was a big hit. The garlic/onion/date/apricot sauce is just incredible and takes this spiced chicken to a very enjoyable place, in your mouth. Serving on quinoa with some garlic sauteed kale on the side makes a simple and terribly satisfying dinner.

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Moroccan Roast Chicken on Quinoa
Adapted from Food & Wine

Ingredients:
2 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 4.5-pound chicken, at room temperature
1 onion, halved and sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
12 pitted dates
12 dried apricot halves
1/2 cup chicken broth

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Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 400° and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. In a bowl, mix the butter with the cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, cayenne and cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Pat the chicken dry. Rub half of the spice butter under the skin and the rest over the chicken; season with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with chicken string if you’d like.

Set the chicken breast-side-up on a rack in a roasting pan. Scatter the onion, garlic cloves, dates and dried apricots and add 1/2 cup of water. Roast for 30 minutes, until the breast is firm and just beginning to brown in spots. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-down and roast for 30 minutes longer, until the skin is lightly browned. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-side-up. Add another 1/2 cup of water. Roast for about 30 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 175° to 180°.

Tilt the chicken to drain the cavity juices into the pan; transfer the bird to a cutting board. Remove the rack from the pan and spoon off the fat. Set the pan over high heat. Add the stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Carve the chicken and pass the chunky jus at the table.

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Quinoa

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
3 cups chicken broth

Instructions:
Rinse quinoa in a strainer. Place quinoa and broth in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

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