BBQ Chicken – Moroccan style

This recipe is from a cookbook called Moroccan Modern, probably less traditional than some of the other recipes I’ve been trying. But the combination of flavors was amazing – this is definitely a meal I’ll be making again.  Oven roasted potatoes and grilled chicken are served with a tomato and coconut sauce.  It involves a number of steps, but it’s totally worth it!

Harissa (hot pepper sauce)*
8 dried red chiles (remove seeds)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled
1/4 c. olive oil

Soak the dried red chiles in hot tap water for about an hour. Then drain and squeeze the extra water out of the peppers. [you may want to use gloves to handle the peppers, or at least remember not to rub your eyes afterwards!]

Grind the dried chiles in a mortar and pestle. Then blend together all ingredients into a paste in a food processor or mortar and pestle. You will use 1 Tbsp. of this in the marinade recipe, the rest will keep well in the refrigerator for use in other dishes.

*you might be able to find this already prepared in a specialty grocery store

Marinade (used on chicken and in sauce)
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. harissa
2 chicken breasts

Blend together all ingredients in a food processor. Slice the chicken breasts horizontally into 2 or 3 thin even layers. Coat the chicken with half the marinade (save the other half for the sauce) and set aside while you prepare the sauce and potatoes.

Oven-roasted Potatoes
8 small red-skinned potatoes
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Scrub the potatoes and boil them whole for about 15 minutes. Drain and cut into halves or quarters (depending on size), then toss with cumin and paprika. Toss seasoned potatoes with olive oil. Place potatoes in a baking dish or cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 375F for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. They should be cooked through and nicely browned.

Tomato Coconut Sauce
14 oz. can tomato puree
1/2 c. coconut cream

In a small saucepan, add tomato puree and the remaining half of the marinade. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Add coconut cream (this is different than coconut milk, you can find coconut cream at an Asian market), and cook for another 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Grilling and Assembly
Heat up the barbecue grill, and grill chicken briefly on both sides until cooked through (it should only take about 5 minutes total over a hot grill).

Divide potatoes evenly onto plates, spoon sauce around the outer rim, and lay chicken breasts on top. This could serve 2 or 3, depending on the size of chicken breasts and potatoes.

Adapted from: Moroccan Modern, by Hassan M’Souli

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