First things first – my apologies for the lack of recipes/posts lately. It has been school holidays for the last couple of weeks and I think I severely underestimated my ability to keep blogging consistently through them, especially when the whole family were bedridden with the flu for the whole first week. Between trips to the doctor and cooking everyone’s favourite meals, there was little time or inspiration for whizz bang new recipes.
In week two it wasn’t much better. My daughter had a fall and cut her eyebrow open requiring a trip to emergency and some stitches. My eldest son managed to lodge a gigantic splinter in his foot that required minor surgery to remove. There were also a tonne of other unfortunate happenings that I will not bore you with, suffice to say I am G -L-A-D that the holidays are over. Back to school today kids and back to my days being a bit more mundane so that I can turn my mind to kitchen creativity.
Onto the recipe! I love a good spice paste. For me it’s the easiest and quickest way to instantly give any dish a real KERPOW with flavour. I love making my own curry pastes for Indian and Thai food and chermoula is a bit like a curry paste, though it’s not as hot, but it’s very fragrant and complex. The best thing is that it is a cinch if you have a food processor or blender of some description. I literally just throw everything in and whizz.
1 whole chicken, about 1.8kg, cut into drumsticks, thighs, wings and breasts
1tbs chilli flakes
1 tbs sweet paprika
1 tbs ground cumin
1tbs ground cinnamon
1/4 cup coriander leaves
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/2 tsp saffron threads
2 bay leaves
1 whole preserved lemon, flesh removed (half for the paste and half for the assembled dish)
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2cm knob fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
125ml olive oil
2 tomatoes, cut into 8ths
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
1/2 cup green olives
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Find a pan or casserole dish that can go from the stovetop to the oven.
Place the chilli flakes, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, saffron, bay leaves, half the preserved lemon, onions and ginger into a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped but still textured. Add the olive oil and pulse to combine.
Pour the chermoula marinade over the chicken to coat all the pieces. Preheat your casserole dish over medium heat and add the chicken and chermoula. Fry and stir the mixture for around 8 minutes, beginning to cook the paste and making everything fragrant.
Top with the potato, tomato, olives and remaining preserved lemon. Pour in the water and bring to the boil.
Cover with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for an hour and a half.
To serve, tear over some fresh coriander leaves and serve alongside some steamed cous cous.