This dish is a specialty of the Moroccan Jews. The sweetness of the honey and the cinnamon strengthens the heady aroma of the saffron, which colors the sauce bright orange rather than red like the tomatoes. I use skinless, boneless chicken breasts rather than a whole chicken in this recipe, which is nontraditional.
Preparation Time: 1-1/4 Hours
1. Heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a deep, wide sauté pan that has a tight-fitting lid. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides and set aside.
2. Sauté the onions in the same oil until soft and translucent (5-7 minutes). Reduce the heat and deglaze with 1/2 cup chicken stock, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon.
3. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften, stirring every once in a while. Add the saffron and honey. Stir well to dissolve. Add the cinnamon sticks and gingerroot.
4. Return the chicken breasts to the pot, making sure they are covered with sauce. Turn the heat down to simmer and cover the pan with foil. Then cover it with its lid. Cook 50 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a skewer or toothpick into the meat. If juice runs yellow meat is done.
5. While the chicken is cooking, toast the almonds by cooking them in a dry cast-iron skillet over medium heat or on a cookie sheet in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees until nicely browned.
6. Remove the cinnamon sticks and gingerroot before serving. The tomatoes will have dissolved into a nice sauce. Pass the sauce through a sieve to smooth it out before serving. If you used canned tomatoes, this has the added advantage of removing the seeds. Serve one chicken breast per person, covered with some of the sauce and sprinkled with toasted almonds.
Serve this dish with couscous or saffron rice pilav. Precede it with a selection of Moroccan salads and appetizers. Sweet Carrot Salad, Roasted Eggplant Salad Arabic Style, Roasted Pepper Salad with Simple Lemon Viniagrette and Buleymas filled with spinach are good choices.
The Sephardic Kitchen
by Rabbi Robert Sternberg
HarperCollins Publishers, 1996
Reprinted by permission.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
Modified February 2007
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