My Kitchen, My World Goes to MoroccoSeptember 24, 2010
Each month, the My Kitchen, My World group takes a virtual trip by cooking the dishes of another country. As much as I like to travel for real, virtual trips are fun too, plus no jet lag! This month, our destination is Morocco. I haven’t been to Morocco, and other than couscous, didn’t know much about the cuisine. I made three things, all from the book Flatbreads and Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Michele gave me this book a while ago, and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s divided into different areas of the world and has more than just bread recipes, as you will see…
First up is Moroccan Anise Bread. This is a yeast bread made with white and whole wheat flour, plus anise seed. It bakes up as a flat round loaf.
I reduced the amount of anise seed a little, because neither my husband or I are big fans of anise. We were pleasantly surprised that we enjoyed the bread, so I’m glad I made it and didn’t omit the anise. It was particularly good dipped in the next dish: Berber Bean Puree. This dish can be made with kidney beans or small red beans; I picked small red beans, mostly because I thought it was funny that there were beans actually named “small red beans.” Obviously, I don’t spend much time in the dried bean section of the grocery store. It’s been many years since I cooked dried beans, and I was thrilled that they turned out! The beans are cooked with garlic and then mixed with water, salt, cumin, fresh flat-leaf parsley, lemon juice, and dried pepper flakes. I used an immersion blender to puree the mixture, avoiding the heartache of cleaning the food processor.
Even though this is called a “puree,” somehow I expected more of a bean spread. Had I thoroughly read the recipe, which says it is the texture of a thick soup, I would have known what to expect. This was really tasty. The parsley added a wonderful, fresh flavor. We ate it at room temperature the first time and warmed up another time. I even ate a little bit like a soup and it was good that way too.
Finally, I made Chicken Tagine with Olives and Onions. I’m not sure how appetizing this photo looks, but in real life, it was quite good.
Chicken is marinated in lemon juice and garlic and then browned before cooking in a broth of water and seasonings including thyme and parsley. While that was cooking, I cooked sliced onions in a water and tumeric mixture (I did not include the optional saffron). The onions and some olives are added to the chicken during the last 10 minutes of cooking. The recipe calls for chicken legs and breasts, but I used boneless chicken breasts instead. I served this over rice, which I don’t think is the Moroccan way to do it , but it was good. This was even more flavorful the next day.
I have not included the recipes here, but if these look interesting to you, take a look at Flatbreads and Flavors. To see what the other travelers made, check out the roundup at My Kitchen, My World; it will be posted at the end of the month.