The grocery store in Little Current, Ontario had only skinless/boneless chicken thighs when we made a provisioning run from the far end of Frazer Bay in Lake Huron’s North Channel. I had been jonesing for some grilled chicken for dinner, so I asked Julie what flavoring she was craving.
“We haven’t had Moroccan for awhile,” she replied, then dejectedly remembered we didn’t have a tajine aboard to do Moroccan right.
I knew I had some Ras el Hanut and Harissa powder aboard. So I mixed those classic Moroccan spices with some lemon juice and olive oil and marinated half the thighs during the 2 1/2 hour cruise back to our anchorage.
Since the seas were calm and little to no wind, I chopped up a carrot, a parsnip, a bell pepper, onion and zucchini and and other veggies and mixed them with some olive oil and the Moroccan spices, then roasted them while we were underway. I also soaked some freeze dried peas and tomato flakes in warm chicken broth.
Once we were anchored, I fired up the grill and cooked the chicken, mixed all the veggies together and soaked some classic couscous in more hot chicken stock. The veggies went on the couscous along with toasted almonds for crunch, the chicken alongside and some fresh parsley from our hanging herb garden.
It wasn’t exactly “Casbahthentic,” but my ersatz Moroccan Chicken Dinner would pass muster at Rick’s Cafe, I’m sure.
Wine: Pinot Grigio/ Chardonnay Music: B.B. King and Eric Clapton – Riding with the King
Moroccan Chicken, Veggies and Couscous
- 4 chicken thighs
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 tbsp Ras el Hanout
- 1/2 tbsp Harissa
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large carrot halved and sliced
- 1 parsnip halved and sliced
- 1 zucchini quartered lengthwise and sliced
- 1 small red bell pepper cut into 1 inch squares or triangles
- 1/2 onion coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves chopped or sliced
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/3 cup tomato flakes reconstituted
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup chicken broth, hot more if rehydrating peas
- 1/4 cup almonds sliced and toasted
- Cilantro or parsley chopped
- sun-dried tomatoes
- vegetable broth
- In a small bowl, combine the Ras el Hanout, Harissa, and turmeric powder to make your Moroccan spice blend. Divide in half.
- Mix olive oil, lemon juice, 1/2 of lemon zest, 1/2 of the Moroccan spices and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over chicken in a pan, bowl or resealable plastic bag.
- Marinate chicken in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours—longer if the chicken has skin. (If chicken has skin, loosen skin from meat to allow marinade to penetrate meat under skin.)
- Preheat oven to 450F. Mix cut-up vegetables with olive oil, remaining Moroccan spices, remaining lemon zest, salt and pepper. Roast vegetables for 20-30 minutes.
- If rehydrating freeze-dried peas and tomato flakes (or any other dehydrated veggies), soak in warm to hot chicken (or vegetable) broth for 10 minutes.
- Mix all vegetables in one pan. Keep warm in oven until chicken and couscous is cooked.
- Grill chicken for approximately 20 minutes (turning once) or until done.
- Spread couscous across bottom of a pan or serving bowl. Pour hot broth over couscous, mix and allow to set 7 to 10 minutes until couscous has absorbed all liquid and is semi-dry and al dente.
- To serve place couscous on plate, top with mixed vegetables, chopped cilantro or parsley and almonds.
July 12, 2021 Frazer Bay 45°59.883’N 81°35.117’W 334.73 Nautical Miles