Make It For Your Date – Moroccan Chicken and Carrots

A more refined version of meat and potatoes.

Moroccan Chicken and Carrots via Sunset Magazine

We all know the saying “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. This can also be a fairly speedy route to the female heart as well. Staying in and making your date dinner (or making it together) rates high on the romance scale. You get to show off your creativity and appreciation for nuance and details, even if it’s a simple dish. It’s no different from putting an outfit together. That’s what this series is all about. She or he will be left impressed, and you won’t need the skills of Wolfgang Puck.  

  • Familiar Ingredients:  Chicken, Olive Oil, Salt, Cinnamon, Golden Raisins.
  • Not so Familiar Ingredients: Cumin, Coriander, Marcona Almonds, Rainbow Carrots.
  • Number of Pans/Pots You’ll need to make this dish:  One.  A cast iron skillet, oven-proof frying pan, or dutch oven. You’ll need a medium bowl for mixing, plus a plate for the chicken to rest on.

We’re forwarding you guys to another recipe from Sunset Magazine, this one from April 2013. The recipe can be found at myrecipes.com, and is easy enough that it could very well become a week night staple. The combination of spices in this dish make it slightly exotic, but approachable for just about anyone. It’s nutritious, delicious, and just about as easy as it gets. A few recipe notes below.

MIFYD moroccan chicken

Chicken – The recipe calls for chicken thighs, skin on, but my husband has made this with skinless, boneless thighs, and we’ve been just as impressed with the delicious flavors in this dish. If you want to cut calories and fat, take the skin off, or buy skinless thighs. Don’t cook the chicken with the skin on and peel it off just before eating. The start of the recipe calls for the chicken to be mixed in a bowl with oil and all the spices. If you get all the spices on the skin, but then discard the skin after cooking, you’ll miss some of the best flavors in the recipe.

Carrots – This recipe calls for rainbow carrots if you can find them, but regular carrots work just fine. If you can splurge, buy young organic carrots from your local farmers market or grocer. At the grocer, these will be the carrots in the organic section that are wrapped loosely in a bunch, not contained in a plastic bag. They should still have their green tops attached. These carrots tend to be sweeter, and will really be delicious once they’ve softened in the spices and their natural sugars are released.

Almonds – You’ve probably seen Marcona almonds. Grown in Spain, these almonds have a much more delicate flesh than the California grown almonds we’re all used to. Their texture is akin to macadamia nuts, and they’re slightly sweeter than everyday almonds. They’re also more expensive. You can find them at Costco at a pretty good price, and I’m sure you can pick them up at any specialty (think Whole Foods) market. If you can’t find Marcona, try to find another blanched (skinless) almond. You can even use slivered almonds, since they’re always skinless. If you do go slivered, cut the almonds down to just over 1/4 cup. In a pinch, just use regular almonds (as shown in picture above).

Spices – Afraid to buy a container of spice that you’ll only use once and will then be relegated to the back of your cupboard to spice no-man’s land? A lot of grocery stores now sell spices in bulk, so you can just buy a small scoop, rather than a larger, expensive package.

This dish stands up well on it’s own, but if you want more carbs (something’s got to soak up the wine, right?), try couscous cooked in chicken broth. If you’re gluten conscience, cook quinoa in chicken or vegetable broth for an earthier flavor. I’d pair this dish with a Spanish white wine, like Martin Codax Albariño.

Sarah is a self proclaimed foodie and regular contributor to fullclutch.com. She thinks the only way this dish could have been better is if her husband would have had Casablanca cued up after dinner to make it a theme night.