My birthday is May first and last year we had a big Moroccan belly dancing party for all the girls and women in our community. It is in that spirit that I present this exotic blend of tastes and ingredients. “Moroccan chicken” was adapted from the Silver Palette Good Times Cookbook. We had this dish again last night at our common meal, served with white and brown rice and a beautiful salad with spring greens, carrots, radishes and a colorful sprinkle of calendula petals. For dessert, Liz made an outrageous Espresso Flan while the kids and non-dairy folks enjoyed fresh pineapple. The menu got rave reviews with comments like “Everything tastes so goooood!” and “The flavors blend so well together.”
Serves 25 adults
~54 pieces of chicken (we used thighs and drumsticks)
1 head garlic
8 Tbsp thyme
4 Tbsp cumin
5 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp salt
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups olive oil
1 small jar green peppercorns packed in water, drained
4 cups pitted kalamata olives
5 cups dried apricots, coarsely chopped
4 cups black seedless table grapes
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups Madeira
Zest of 6 lemons
The day before, combine the chicken, garlic, spices, vinegar, oil, peppercorns, olives and fruit in a large bowl. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
About 2 hours before serving, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Arrange chicken in a single layer in two large shallow baking pans with sides high enough to hold all the juices (not cookie sheets). Spoon marinade over the chicken. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pour Madeira between the pieces.
Cover the pans with aluminum foil. Using convection heat, if you have it, bake for one hour. Remove foil and bake another 15 to 30 minutes. If you don’t have convection in your oven, it will take a little longer. Cooking time depends on how crowded the pans are. Check to make sure the chicken is done by cutting into a piece.
Before serving, drizzle with pan juices and sprinkle with lemon zest.