Hands up if you’ve ever heard of onions cut Asian style? It was a new one on me so went to the internet to see if I could find out what it meant and how the onions were cut. After a few seconds I found that It means that you make thick cuts with the grain, where I mainly slice them against the grain. I found it changes the dish significantly because instead of the onions being a small part of the recipe in the background it brings it to the forefront, because you have large pieces of onions with wonderful sweet bite. It does take longer to soften them, but well worth the wait. This is why I love cooking you are always learning something new.
I was using Asian cut onions because I am making a Moroccan dish sent to me by my gorgeous and wonderful friend Donna who lives in Sydney. How great is this world where in one sentence I cover three continents for one recipe. The one thing I love about globalisation is the changes in our eating habits because our want to try new things and the ease of getting a superb variety of foods. When I was a kid I’d never heard of yams, mangoes and cous cous, but am so pleased to be alive in these exciting food times and wonder what other great ingredients I have just to discover.
I have known Donna for many years and although we don’t contact each other like we use to, it’s always like it was yesterday when we do speak. She has always known my love of food and loves that I’m finally doing something I enjoy. So much so she emailed me asking if I would be interested in trying her aunty’s recipe and here it is.
After scanning the ingredients I had an initial worry because it has prunes in it and if you’ve read my blog you might know that I am not a fan of fruit in savoury dishes, but I am improving. In fact the prunes where wonderful the problem was I used ground almonds and it made the dish very thick. So I tried the recipe again using finely chopped almonds and I preferred this as the almonds didn’t soak up all the stock. I’ve left both version of almonds (this does not include the whole blanched toasted almonds), so that you can try either version.
4-6 chicken thighs, skinned and boned
1 lemon, juiced and grated rind
pinch of saffron
1tsp fresh ginger, grated
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground chilli
2tbsp olive oil
2 onions, cut Asian style
2 garlic cloves crushed
500ml/1pint/1-2cup chicken stock
150g/1 cup pitted prunes
150g almonds, finely chopped or ground
150g whole blanched almonds toasted
salt and pepper for seasoning if required
Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add the lemon rind, juice and salt and rub into the chicken.
Taking a small bowl, mix together the saffron, grated ginger, ground cinnamon, ground chilli and black pepper, then mix in with the chicken.
Place the butter in a flame-proof casserole and heat. Brown the chicken in batches in the butter and place to one side.
Reduce the heat and add the oil and cook the onion and garlic until soft.
Place the browned chicken into the casserole dish and add the stock.
Bring to the boil, cover the pan and boil gently until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes , adding the prunes after 10 minutes.
Stir in the chopped or ground almonds as well and the whole toasted almonds and add any seasoning if required.
Serve with cous cous with chopped coriander with salted or pickled limes in oil.
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