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Moroccan Chicken Stew

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Moroccan Chicken Stew

inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Chicken b’stilla [7]

Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook time:50 minutes

Note: chicken must marinate for an hour, and puffy pastry needs to thaw before baking.

Yield: 4 generous servings

6 chicken thighs skinless, boneless, each piece cut into fourths (about 1 pound)
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, split and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

3 tablespoons grapeseed or coconut oil, divided (or other high-heat oil)
1/4 white wine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
4 cups of chicken stock
1 cup small pasta or pearl couscous (or 1/2 cup rice of your choice)
1/2 – 2 teaspoons harissa, to taste (use more for more heat) (optional, but highly recommended)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 of one sheet puff pastry
cinnamon, for sprinkling
finishing salt, such as Maldon’s or grey sea salt

To make the soup:  In a medium bowl, season the chicken with the ground ginger, coriander, cinnamon, smoked paprika and saffron. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, and stir to mix well. Cover, and marinate at room temperature for one hour (or place in fridge overnight)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 4 to 5 qt dutch oven or a large, wide stock pot until shimmering. When the chicken has finished marinating, use your fingers to gently brush the vegetables from the chicken pieces (reserving the vegetables in the bowl). Lay half of the chicken in a single layer, and brown both sides. Remove to a plate to cool. Add the remaining oil (if necessary) and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the reserved vegetables and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the flour and a little bit of the chicken stock, stirring well. Add the lemon juice and honey and stir to create a paste. Add half of the remaining chicken stock and turn heat to medium high. Stir well to loosen the paste, then add the remaining stock. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to medium low.

Cut or pull apart the cooled chicken into bite size pieces and add them to the soup. Add the pasta or grains, stir well, and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes (or until the grains are cooked according to their directions). Uncover and reduce heat to low. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Stir in the harissa, mixing well. Allow the soup to rest at low for another 10 minutes. Stir in the cilantro.

Puff pastry points:  Remove one pastry sheet from the box, and slice it in half (return the unused sheets to the freezer). Allow to thaw for 30 minutes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet while you’re making the soup.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Unfold the pastry sheet and use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to slice the sheet into narrow strips. Slice across the strips diagonally to create angled points. Sprinkle the strips lightly with cinnamon and finishing salt (such as Maldon’s or grey sea salt).

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until puffy and lightly golden. Remove and allow to cool on the sheet.

To serve: Ladle soup into bowls. Top with puff pastry points.