One of the great things about tacos is the endless possibilities that comes with them! I’ve always loved Moroccan food and I thought that tacos would be a great way to experience it again. The chicken is seasoned with a fragrant blend of spices and shreds easily with a fork. I always choose whole chickens for taco meat as I’ve noticed they come out perfectly tender every time. I chose a spicy salsa based on the flavors of traditional Moroccan Harissa paste. It gave the tacos a good amount of spiciness and flavor. Since preserved lemon is an important ingredient in Moroccan food I topped the tacos with a refreshing Preserved Lemon and Mint Salsa. To cool things down I garnished the tacos with creamy goat cheese.
To accompany the batch of Moroccan Chicken Skewers and flat bread I wanted to make a few sauces that would go along with the main courses as well as complement each other. The three I settled on was a refreshing Mint and Cilantro sauce, spicy Harissa, and a cooling Yogurt Lemon sauce. They complemented the chicken and flat bread and were perfectly balanced with each other. These different sauces allowed me to play “choose your own adventure” of sorts which made eating fun. Not only did the types of food and sauces matter in the experience, but the order played a key role in it too (not exactly a new idea in the historical record of food but a fun thing to experience at home by accident).
Since each sauce had a different “purpose” it stands to reason that each sauce affected the other ingredients differently as well. The easiest comparison to make would be dipping the chicken in the yogurt sauce vs. the harissa sauce. The yogurt enhanced the lemony flavor of the chicken and helped cool off its spiciness. The Harissa sauce is made of chilies and instead invigorated the chicken’s spicy seasoning. This seems obvious now, but I really wasn’t expecting how different the “experiences” would be. I came to notice that I enjoyed pairing the chicken more with the yogurt and mint sauces, and the flat bread with the harissa. Later I realized I probably did this to help balance things out a little bit in terms of spiciness. Although I also spooned generous portions of mint sauce and yogurt sauce on the bread as well so who knows really. This was one of those meals that I had a lot of fun making and eating. I loved all three sauces and I still can’t decide on a favorite!
Flat breads and grilled meats are popular fare all over the world. I was so impressed with the Lebanese version I made a few months ago. I fell in love with the smorgasbord effect of the different condiments, seasoning, breads and meat. All of the different parts came together in a beautiful way. When there’s so many separate parts you can almost “choose your own adventure” (more about that in the sauces post). I decided to try out this idea with a version of Roasted Moroccan Chicken–one of my favorite recipes. This recipe takes the spice blend from the original recipe and uses it to season the chicken which is skewered and then grilled. It worked out great with the Moroccan Flat Bread and was a perfect accompaniment with the dipping sauces.
I love flat breads since they are the perfect vehicle for amazing sauces! I have always loved Moroccan food and have been making it for a few years. This bread is not as flat as pita, but still works great as a dipping bread for sauces. The interior is pillowy, with not much crust on the outside. It wasn’t difficult to make but it does require some monitoring as you don’t want the dough to over rise. I was happy with how this turned out though I might try flattening the dough more to make it a little less thick next time. This couldn’t have been a better bread to serve alongside several tasty sauces!
After making Moroccan Chicken I had some leftovers that needed to be used. As I have said in previous posts, I make that dish pretty often so I am always trying to come up with new, tasty recipes for the leftovers. I decided to try the chicken on a grilled cheese sandwich along with Manchego cheese, caramelized onions and preserved lemons. The preserved lemons and caramelized onions are sauteed together with honey so their flavors can mingle. Manchego is a Spanish cheese that has the consistency of mozzarella and has a slightly tangy flavor. I had it once at a mexican restaurant and I was looking forward to having it again. It melts great so I thought it would work nicely on a grilled cheese sandwich. This sandwich was simple to make and the flavors were so good together.
Whenever I have leftovers I try to think of creative ways to use them. I had two chicken thighs from the Moroccan Chicken I made the other day and I decided to make a pulled chicken sandwich out of the leftovers. I recently made some Moroccan yogurt and dill dip and it seemed like it would go really well on a sandwich too. To give the sandwich some extra flavor I added some roasted red peppers which provided a nice pop of color as well. Overall the sandwich was a tasty way to use leftovers. The savory flavors of the chicken paired nicely with the roasted peppers and fresh yogurt dressing.
I have found myself taken with the flavor of Moroccan seasonings for a while now and I’m always trying to figure out new ways to use them. Since I regularly make my Moroccan chicken I try to mix things up a bit with side dishes. This time I tried a Moroccan style french fry with a yogurt dipping sauce. The fries were so good and had just the right amount of crispiness on the outside. Baked potato fries are a lot healthier than regular french fries as they are simply tossed in olive oil and roasted in an oven. I sprinkled a little ginger on them along with a little harissa chili paste which brought a nice heat to them. Then I drizzled honey and lemon over the fries and baked them for an hour or so. This allows the inside to get tender while its baking at a lower temperature. The secret to getting a good crispy outside is to broil the fries for about 10 minutes at the very end. The broiling process helps caramelize the outside and evaporates any extra lemon juice on the pan. The dipping sauce was the perfect accompaniment to cool down this spicy and sweet Moroccan side dish.
Recently I made some sweet and spicy Moroccan potato fries and I wanted something to offset the spiciness of that dish. I came up with a cooling yogurt dip with dill and anise seed. Do not be fooled by its similar appearance to ranch dressing. It’s closer in flavor to the Greek tzatziki than ranch dressing. The combination of dill and anise almost give it a minty taste that is very refreshing. This dip cooled down the spicy fries very well, and I’m sure I will be using this recipe again on other Moroccan dishes!
Whenever I make Roasted Moroccan Chicken I roast russet potatoes in some spicy Harissa paste and honey for a side dish. This time I had some nice sweet potatoes in the refrigerator so I thought I would try them with the Moroccan dish instead. I figured the additional sweetness of the potato would balance nicely with the chili paste. It turns out I was right as the balance of the sweet potato and the spicy chilies were a really good combination! I love contrasting flavors in general and this definitely had that going for it. I simply tossed the sweet potato pieces in olive oil and spread the chili paste over the potatoes along with a couple dashes of coriander and cinnamon. I used just a touch of honey to bring out the flavors of the sweet potato. This side dish was the perfect accompaniment for the chicken and a great pop of color on the plate.
One of my favorite main courses is the recipe for roasted Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons. I am always thinking of new sides to go with the spicy and savory flavors of this dish. I had some beets in the refrigerator and I thought a warm roasted vegetable salad would be a great accompaniment to the main course. I was not let down as the warm beets and carrots were so good with the chicken! The carrots, onions, and beets are simply tossed in oil and seasoned with Moroccan spices and baked in the oven. The earthy vegetables went very well with the spicy and sweet seasonings so I will definitely be making this again.
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