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Monday, February 27, 2012

Tomorrow with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy at the Madison Square MLCC - Morocco!

Chicken with Prunes and Almonds - Photo by Karen Peters

Tomorrow evening I will be presenting the following Moroccan dishes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy at the Madison Square MLCC. Assiniboine Park Conservancy Education Coordinator, Bonnie Tulloch, will be presenting on the plant life of Morocco and wine pairings will be added on Wednesday. Photos to come!

The following recipes were produced from Paula Wolfert's, The Food of Morocco, except for the Pickerel cheeks. A very comprehensive cookbook.

1. Pickerel cheeks with Chermoula (Morocco meets Manitoba)

1 head garlic, peeled (or 3-5 large cloves)
¼ tsp cayenne
1 heaping tbs cumin
½ bunch parsley
1 whole bunch cilantro
juice of one lemon
2 tbs vinegar
1 generous tbs olive oil
salt, to taste

1 lb pickerel cheeks

Blend all of the first ingredients in a food processor and place in glass bowl. Mix in the pickerel cheeks and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Sauté a minute per side. Serve immediately.

This is a classic Moroccan flavouring for fish but also goes well with vegetables.

2. Chicken Tajine with prunes and almonds

1 chicken – (3 1/2 lbs)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup prunes
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cup whole blanched almonds
vegetable oil for frying

Rub all the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and cumin. Let stand for one hour.

Soak prunes if very dry.

Place onions in a wide shallow casserole with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 cup water, cover and steam for 15 minutes.

Brown the almonds in 4-5 tbs oil in a large skillet and drain on paper towels. Brown the chicken evenly on all sides in the oil and transfer to the steamed onions. Cover with parchment paper and cook in tajine on the lowest heat for about 1 1/4 hours.

Discard the parchment paper. Add the prunes and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat. Serve with almonds sprinkled on top.

3. Marak of Swiss Chard

12 cups finely chopped Swiss Chard stalks and leaves (about 4 bunches)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp sweet paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup long-grain rice, such as Basmati

1. Place the Swiss chard in a large casserole or Tajine, add the onion, oil, cilantro, paprika, salt and pepper to taste and 1/4 cup water and cook, covered for 30 minutes over medium heat.

2. Add the rice and continue cooking, covered, until all the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has turned into a thick sauce slightly glistening with oil, about 20 minutes. The lid of the casserole or tajine must be tight-fitting so that the rice will cook in the water released by the vegetables. If you are concerned that the rice will burn, place a sheet of parchment paper directly over the rice and vegetables, tightly cover the casserole and cook over medium heat. Serve warm.

4. Moroccan Haroset (Charoset)

1 lb blanched almonds
1 lb pitted dates
2 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1 tsp ground good cinnamon, plus ½ cup for rolling
¼ tsp ground ginger

The day before, finely grind almonds in a food processor. Add the dates, apples and 1 tsp cinnamon and the ginger and continue pulsing until the apples are chopped into tiny pieces and the mixture comes together. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, shape the mixture into balls the size of a large marble. Put the ½ cup cinnamon in a bowls and roll the balls in it.


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