Moroccan-style Sweet and Smoky Chicken, as advertised
Recipes from friends, recipes from family. Recipes with stories, recipes with memories. Recipes from food bloggers and food magazines and food television. Recipes from ads? I usually get recipes from any source imaginable, but I think this chicken dinner might be the first time I’ve cooked something from an ad in a food magazine (and Green Bean Casserole doesn’t count, because in my mind it’s a recipe that my mom created, not a soup company). In fact, I’m such an anti-advertising fanatic that I’ve mostly trained myself not to see advertising, or at least to pointedly ignore it when I do see it. But flipping through an old issue of Bon Appetit, my eye was caught by a McCormick ad featuring this recipe for Sweet and Smoky Chicken, and I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to make it.
My housemate has this huge bag of Smoked Paprika from the Atlantic Spice Company that she’s been begging me to use. And don’t let that picture fool you. That bag of spice, when rolled up, is almost the size of my arm. And you know? I might have used a little more of it than the McCormick people suggest. Just to help my housemate get rid of it, of course. I’m just that helpful.
I have to admit, those McCormick people know what they’re doing, at least as far as their recipes go. This stuff was amazing. The flavors were well-balanced, the raisins, which I’m not usually a big fan of, were subtle and added just the right kick of sweetness. The chicken was very tender and flavor-y. Flavorful. Whatever. In fact, I ate the leftover chickpea tomato sauce with mashed potatoes, with lentils, and with pasta over the next few days, and it was delicious in every combination.
But for this meal, I served it with rice. I cooked white rice in vegetable stock, with about two teaspoons of za’atar, which was so fragrant while it was cooking I’m tempted to make it everyday. And I needed a green thing, so I steamed up some broccoli to serve on the side.
But those things were secondary. This chicken and chickpea stuff stole the show.
Moroccan-style Sweet and Smoky Chicken
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 1/2 to 2 T. smoked paprika (yeah, the spice company says 2 teaspoons. I say more!)
- salt and pepper
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, minced
- 2-3 large roma tomatoes, diced, with juices saved
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 to 1/3 c. raisins (I bet golden raisins would be lovely)
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Using half the paprika, rub each side of the chicken breast with paprika, salt, and pepper. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, and cook the chicken for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side, long enough to get a good sear on each side, but not to cook it through. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Heat another tablespoon or so of oil in the same skillet, and add the onion. Saute it for a few minutes, or until it’s soft and slightly golden. Then add the tomatoes, chickpeas, raisins, the rest of the paprika, and the cinnamon. Mix everything up well, and maybe add a little more salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer, covered, for about five minutes. You want the tomatoes to really start to break down.
Then nestle the tomato pieces back in with all the tomatoes and chickpeas and other good stuff. Cover and simmer for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
This could probably be served with just about anything: rice, couscous, pasta, lentils, pearl pasta. I’ll admit the mashed potatoes were a little weird, it was just what I had in the refrigerator. And you know, it tasted great, so why not?
I never thought I’d be saying thank you to an advertiser, but this is a great recipe. It fed me for days, and I didn’t even get sick of eating it. Which goes to show that I can find something to cook pretty much everywhere.