I had been planning to be lazy on new year’s eve and treat us to take out but unfortunately (or fortunately since this dinner was pretty tasty) my favourite noodle bar was closed. In search of inspiration I got out my cookbooks and browsed my little heart out. I’d be hard pressed to choose my favourite cookbook but when I’m looking for a special yet simple meal I often turn to Ghillie Basan’s Modern Moroccan.
This recipe was supposed to be made with monkfish tail, which I’m sure would be lovely, but it proved a little hard to find at such short notice. I tinkered a little with the original by adapting the cooking times to suit chicken, swapping corriander (yuk!) for parsley and adding some preserved lemon. It turned out to be a very tasty dinner, quite light and healthy so ideal for any new year dieters. We had green salad, yogurt and cous cous on the side but bread would be nice to mop up the juices.
- 1 large free-range chicken breast
- 5 small new potatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 large green pepper
- a handful of olives
- 1/4 preserved lemon, finely chopped*
- 50ml water
- chopped parsley (or corriander) to taste
- olive oil
- balck pepper
for the chermoula
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
First make the chermoula. In a pestle and mortar blend the garlic, salt, cumin and paprika into a paste. Stir in the lemon juice and oil.
Cut the chicken into 2-3cm pieces and coat in the chermoula. If you have time, leave to marinate for an hour or more.
In a medium pan par-boil the potatoes until just beggining to soften. Drain and slice each potato in half. Set aside for later. Meanwhile grill the pepper until the skin is blackened, peel and slice.
Put the now empty pan back on the heat and add a little oilve oil. Fry the garlic until it starts to go golden then add the tomatoes. When the tomatoes start to soften, empty the pan into a bowl and stir in the peppers, olives and preserved lemon.
Return the pan to the heat once more adding a little oil if necessary and brown the chicken. There is no need to cook then chicken through yet. Once browned, add in the potatoes and then the tomato mix. Season with pepper and pour over the water. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 mins. Before serving sprinkle over the parsley.
*If you don’t have or want to use preserved lemon then you may want to add a little salt with the black pepper. Preserved lemons are very salty and dishes using them don’t need extra salt.