Thursday, 26 March 2009

Whatta Winner, Chicken Dinner!

This week in Tyler Florence Fridays, I made a healthy and delicious chicken dinner. A simple roast chicken, rubbed with sweet and savoury Moroccan spices paired with a light and healthy tabbouleh salad with lots of crunchy veggies. I served them with a simple rice, just some basmati steamed with raisins, a touch of ground cumin, coriander and cinnamon, olive oil and salt and pepper. Then I served it up family-style on a platter, so the rice could soak up all the juiciness from the chicken. I got 5 meals out of this dish for a fairly small investment. Delicious and inexpensive - who could ask for more?

Roast Chicken with Moroccan Spices - Real Kitchen, Tyler Florence

Moroccan Spice Mix:
1 cinnamon stick, chopped in pieces
8 whole cloves
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 (31/2 pound) whole free range chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
1 head garlic
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To prepare the Moroccan Spice Mix for the Chicken: Combine the cinnamon stick, cloves, cayenne, cumin, fennel, coriander, and paprika in a dry skillet over low heat and toast for just a minute to release the fragrant oils; shake the pan so they don't scorch. In a spice mill or clean coffee grinder, grind the toasted spices together, with 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and the brown sugar. (A word of advice: make sure you thoroughly wipe out your coffee grinder before you make coffee again - Moroccan spices taste great on chicken but horrible with coffee.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out, then pat it dry with paper towels. Massage the chicken skin with the spice rub; make sure you don't miss a spot. Season the inside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the lemons halves, cilantro, and garlic in the cavity and place the chicken in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Fold the wing tips under the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Drizzle the oil all over the chicken. If you have time, let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes to really get the flavors down deep into the meat. Roast the chicken for 1 hour; pop an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; if it reads 160 degrees F, it's done. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes so the juices can settle back into the meat.

Tabbouleh Salad - Eat This Book, Tyler Florence
1 cup bulgur wheat (fine-medium grind)
2 cups hot water
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups) I added radishes and some celery
1 bunch green onions, white and green part, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 hothouse cucumber, halved, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
2 large bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup) I didn't have any mint
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Put the bulgur in a large bowl and pour in the hot water. Cover with a dish or plastic wrap and let stand for about 30 to 45 minutes to rehydrate. Drain in a strainer, pressing with the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much water as possible.
In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, onions, cucumber, parsley, and mint. Toss the salad well to incorporate the ingredients; season with cumin, salt and pepper. Add the bulgur; moisten with the lemon juice and olive oil. Fold everything together to incorporate the ingredients. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours. Serve at room temperature.
Choose, cook, share.
Round-up every Friday, check out the Tyler Florence Fridays site for details