March 18, 2010

entrees: the final frontier

If you pop by my little space on the interwebnets, you know how passionately I feel about cinnamon. That glorious little spice is probably present in 90% of my recipes, which isn't really that obsessive a big deal when you consider that most of them are for baked goods.

How 'bout them bowls?

Well, folks, I'm branching out.

I've always been intrigued by the flavors of Moroccan cuisine, with the use of sweet, plump raisins and fragrant cinnamon in an entree being particularly appealing. Toss in a few more of my favorite ingredients--chicken, chickpeas, and cilantro--and we're well on our way to a new but exciting taste experience! Why did I wait so long to try this out? Heaven only knows.

This stew was quite simple to put together--as is often the case, the hardest part was waiting. I don't own a tagine, the traditional piece of kitchen equipment in which to prepare a dish like this, but I think the good ol' Dutch oven worked just fine.

In addition to being easy, my Moroccan meal was really packed with complimentary and delicious flavors. A choice spoonful for this gal would contain a chunk of meaty chicken, two swollen and juicy raisins, two nutty chickpeas, some verdant cilantro, a glob of tangy tomato, and enough rich broth to send that cinnamon aroma straight up your nose. Yeah...I broke out the big spoon for this supper.

Now that I've used cinnamon in a main dish, there'll be no looking back. Resistance is futile.

Moroccan Melange
(pieced together from multiple sources)

1 onion, chopped
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
2 cups whole tomatoes, broken up, with their juices
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, saute the onions in oil until they become soft, around 8 to10 minutes. Add the chicken, tomatoes, beans, raisins, broth, lemon juice, and spices and cook covered in the oven for at least 2 hours (but longer is better). Be careful not to let the stew dry out!
Before serving, adjust seasonings and top with cilantro.

76 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

very healthy, flavorful and delicious! A wonderful dish!

Cheers,

Rosa

♥peachkins♥ said...

This looks like a really delicious dish..

Peter M said...

..and all this time I thought you ate desserts for dinner! ;)

Pam said...

I've had something like this on my list for quite a while! I think you have finally convinced me to give it a go!

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Teehee, ok Peter M's response was too funny! And, by the way Peter, there's absolutely nothing wrong with having dessert for dinner...just in case you were trying to imply :)LOL! This dish looks fabulous! I may have to forgo my normal dinner of dessert to have this instead ;)

Bellini Valli said...

I just found cans and cans of chickpeas at the grocers yesterday so am looking for innovative ways tyo use them. Great job!!

Faith said...

This is gorgeous, Grace! The thing I love most about Moroccan meals like this is the sweet/spicy combo. I bet this delicious dish would also be fantastic served on top of couscous!

Barbara said...

What I say is I am not at all surprised to see you branching out! I mean, it's the 5 c's after all: chicken, chickpeas, cinnamon, cloves and cumin! You can't beat those flavors together.
More please, Grace!

cookies and cups said...

So pretty! And I suppose one cannot live on butter and sugar forever ;)

Cara said...

Don't ya know, I love cinnamon in my savories too! Which must be why I am always all over Moroccan-inspired recipes. Maybe a tagine should be my next big kitchen purchase, I certainly cook enough Moroccan style dishes to justify it! (But I do wonder how different it really is than a good ol' dutch oven.)

Chef Jeena said...

Lovely healthy dish my kind of flavors too yum. :)

MaryMoh said...

I heard a lot about Moroccan food....awesome flavour and taste. Your dish looks very healthy and delicious.

kat said...

I love this kind of dish. Isn't it heavenly the way the spices smell while cooking?

The Teacher Cooks said...

This has to be good with all the great ingredients! Funny that you mention branching out with cinnamon. I just posted minutes ago a "Root Roast" seasoned with cinnamon. Very good also.

lisa said...

Resistance is indeed futile! I love these savory flavors, and now I really want a tagine.

Hungry Dog said...

This looks awesome. I love all of these flavors together, I may have to give this one a try. And for the record, cinnamon is GREAT in savory dishes!

Lindsey @ pickyeatings said...

I had to star this bad boy on my reader, as I am always looking for new ideas for chicken. Although I am not a raisin gal, but every other ingredient definitely tickles my fancy. And when you get the bonus of chickpeas, well count me in. I have noticed we seem to share a love of beans/legumes.

Julie said...

Must....resist...but..I just can't! Looks great :)

Mimi said...

It's so nice that you let your cinnamon wander from sweet to savory. Great new recipe.
Mimi

shaz said...

Mmmm... I love morrocan dishes, and have you tried using a whole cinnamon stick in there? Well worth it my cinnamon loving friend :) Oh and I use my dutch oven too instead of a tagine!

Judy said...

How wonderful that you took the plunge. I'm still afraid. Sometimes I like cinnamon in a savory dish, and sometimes I don't. too much kills it for me. I like cinnamon in Greek dishes like pastitsio. Not sure about Moroccan, but I would like to try it. If I get the nerve. thanks for posting.

Sophie said...

Hello Grace!

A lovely, apart & tasty dish!! I love it,...ohh, yes!

M D said...

This is very close to the vegetarian version of Indian Channa Chole that we make. Almost similar minus the chicken! Nice to know this is a Moroccan dish.

Erica said...

This sounds wonderful!!! love the cinnamon and cloves flavors......delicious!

Melanie said...

I'm a skeptic, I can't lie, but the stew looks amazing. I had to know the cinnamon-entering-a-main-dish would happen sooner or later with you. Love it!

Pam said...

I've only had Morracan food once and it was an interesting experience. I love cinnamon as much as you so I am trusting you that this dish is tasty.

Bob said...

Sounds fantastic, cinnamon and savory is a good time. I recently made a jerk rub that had cinnamon in it, it was really tasty.

Amy I. said...

As a reformed chickpea hater (on the road to lover), this definitely looks like something I could wrap my head around. Unfortunately, I am a vehement cilantro hater (I wish I liked it, really I do, it's genetic, I swear!) so there's that. But that will definitely not stop me from making this and omitting those little evil green leaves :)

Marjie said...

It's colorful and beautiful! Sadly, I made a main dish a while back with cinnamon in it, and my dearly beloved just didn't like it. When I redid it without the cinnamon, he loved it. Some people have no spice sense.

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I love Moroccan flavors, especially in the winter. It's a wonderful use of cinnamon in a savory dish. Have you tried Chinese 5 spice? It has cinnamon in it. =)

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

I love your "choice mouthful!" Nothing like all those wonderful flavors in one bite. I too am a huge fan of cinnamon in sweets and savory foods. Another go-to spice over here is smoked paprika...love the stuff. Great recipe!

Danielle said...

omg...hold on, let me sit down (oh wait, I already am)...it's not a dessert?! LOL. Lookin good especially with all that yummy cilantro! (I think Bath and Body Works need to work that into a frangrance)

sweetlife said...

what a great dish..I love the flavors!!

sweetlife

5 Star Foodie said...

Fantastic flavors, I love the cinnamon here and the raisins too!

Kate said...

Yum. I love to try various cuisines...this sounds delicious.

Jeanette said...

This sounds great. I will just substitute parsley for the cilantro. Very healthy.

Lucie said...

Looks lovely! Have you thought of adding preserved lemons? It's a pretty common ingredient in many Moroccan dishes and adds a special something, you should give it a try!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Grace, have you tred a Spanish savoury pastry dish called B'stilla? It has not only cinnamon topping it but also icing sugar! It's like a dessert but not hehe :P

The Blonde Duck said...

It sounds delicious!

Trissa said...

I had a friend who used to make lasagne not only with nutmeg but also cinnamon it was fantastic and her secret ingredient! Adding cinnamon to savoury dishes is inspired! Can't wait to see more!

Joanne said...

I can talk for hours about how much I like cinnamon in savory dishes. It's obscene how deep my obsession goes. You should check out this cinnamon tomato sauce I have on my blog - it's to die for if you're a cinnamon lover!

Love Middle Eastern food, mostly because the spice combos are so delicious. This dish looks awesome!

Hornsfan said...

What a delicious looking stew - can't wait to try it!

Julia said...

Such a delicious stew!! Based on the Moroccan Harrira Soup. I just made something like this last night too. It's definitely an easy, go to recipe.

Kate at Serendipity said...

Oh, yes. This is definitely a big spoon recipe. It might even be a ladle recipe. Thanks for posting it!

Albany Jane said...

chickpeas, chickpeas, chickpeas! yeeeaahhhh, chickpeas! They're like my bean equivalent of cinnamon. Soooo good.

oneordinaryday said...

Grace, you like cinnamon? Huh. Never knew.
haha ; )
This dish sounds lovely!!

Nicisme said...

I like everything that you put into this fabulous dish! What's time's dinner???

Amy said...

You had me at cinnamon.I'll have get the kiddos to try something new and exotic this weekend:)

Gulmohar said...

I thought it's Indian Chole, at my first glance..lol..This looks wonderful. I love chickpeas :-)

noble pig said...

Cinnamon is probably my favorite ingredient in my Morrocaan rice and chicken...this is also a big winner. Very nice!!

TKW said...

This sounds lovely! The raisins make it out-of-bounds for my husband (weirdo) but I think this looks delectable!

Chanel11 said...

As a fellow Cinnamon lover I also tend to favour Moroccan and Turkish cuisines - so this looks fab to me.

Lori said...

Count me applauding. I love that you branched out and loved teh result. It sounds positively yummy Grace. You rock- really I always enjoy your blog!

Heather said...

This sound delicious Grace! Like you, I am a lover of that wonderful spice called cinnamon. I will have to give this a try, thanks Grace!

Deborah said...

I will admit that every time I use cinnamon, you come to my mind!

Kerstin said...

Love it! This is our kind of dish! I'm glad you're branching out :)

Joanne said...

I'm currently having a love affair with cinnamon. And thus with middle eastern food. This is definitely a dish I know I would love. It looks so pretty and sounds absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing.

Fimère said...

une assiette très appétissante et savoureuse, bravo
bonne journée

WizzyTheStick said...

Cinnamon goes so well with savory dishes. This one looks fantastic. Thanks for a lovely side dish I aim to try this sooon.

Fresh Mommy said...

Hahahahahah, I just can't get past the "interwebnets" !! Made me snort! LOL

foodhoe said...

sounds wonderful, I am drooling! I had many of those ingredients waiting in the pantry for the word...

Catherine said...

I love cinnamon too! I love what you have made here. It is so creative and sounds delicious! I will have to try this soon Grace!

Chef Aimee said...

I love this creation! What a great mix!

kellypea said...

I LOVE Moroccan food -- you called it straight with branching out. Maybe some cardamom could find its way into this....:)

Carolyn Jung said...

I adore the flavors of Morocco. And you will never find me without a jar of preserved lemons in my fridge. :)

Emily said...

Oh my goodness, this sounds so good. I love sweet and savory flavors. And how about those chick peas? I love those little guys.

Laura said...

That photo was enough to make me pause in my consumption of my lunch dal--a very tasty dal to--and stare longingly. That looks fantastic.

Teanna said...

I use cinnamon on EVERYTHING. One of my favorite things to use cinnamon on is baked salmon. Seriously. People think it is weird. But it is so delicious!

Olga @ MangoTomato said...

Love chickpeas and love Moroccan flavors. A perfect combination.

laura said...

Hooray for branching out! I had my only "real" Moroccan cuisine at a little low lit restaurant filled with the sweet smell of cinnamon and bursting at the seems with tagines while in Paris a few years ago. I have a recipe my mother keeps hounding me to try for a Moroccan chicken dish, but I do not recall any cinnamon in the recipe, so it may have to stay on hold until after I give this a try. (: It sounds wonderful.

Jessica {The Novice Chef} said...

This looks absolutely delicious!

msmeanie said...

Oh, I am totally making a Moroccan chickpea soup for a dinner party this week. This recipe looks fabulous. I love all the spices you added.

Robin Sue said...

The 2 C's for me!- Cilantro and Cinnamon. Looks so good!

Lisa said...

I bookmarked this. Raisins aren't my favorite but the rest makes it well worth a try. The picture looks fabulous and it's great that you are branching out. Cinnamon is a rather versatile spice. I love the heat!

Sweeter side of life said...

chickpeas are like the wonder bean, i like all the cilantros added in! delicous with a whole wheat pita :D

www.dhaleb.com said...

Once I get over my bean overdose from Costa Rica, I'm definitely trying this one out!

And your cinnamon obsession is a lot healthier than my pork belly infatuation! I need to switch!