Moroccan Monday – Best Sheet Pan Chicken Recipe

Moroccan Monday – Best Sheet Pan Chicken Recipe

Happy Labor Day! I know we all tend to dine out on holiday weekends, and that can get a little old. Deep down, we’re just looking for an easy, fresh and healthful recipe that enables a chill night at home. My Moroccan Sheet Pan Chicken is great for that. For one thing, the nice bottle of white you’ll need to make it, only calls for one cup…the rest you can sip on during dinner. I recommend picking up a second bottle of the same wine as it’ll pair perfectly with this dinner.

The ingredients for this one are a little expensive, but not if you think about quantity. This slow roasted platter of veggies, sweet dates, olives and sumptuous chicken, simmering in a delicate orange and peppery sauce leaves you with surplus spices and Medjool dates.

Dates are the sweetest, yummiest breakfast ever…you can add the turmeric and other Asian spices left over for future sheet pan dinners.  Here’s what the spice rub for your chicken will look like when you mix it according to recipe instructions:

This recipe hails from North Africa – one of the few places I still haven’t gone, yet fantasize about in my upcoming cookbook Canvas & Cuisine. I love how Moroccan food pairs sweet with tart, better than most anywhere else. Salty olives with sweet dates, hot spices with cooked brown sugar . . . I can’t think of a bigger treat for dinner. This is a one-pan meal, ideal for serving with a bowl of lemon-infused jasmine rice.

Moroccan Sheet Pan Chicken with Sweet ‘n Salty Carrots and Chickpeas

serves 4 to 6

30 minute cuisine

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 whole orange, cut into thin slices

½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

½ pound pitted dates, about 1 ½ cups

1 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

For chicken:

8 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you can mix and match with boneless breasts)

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 more for veggies

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 large red onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch wedges

1 pound baby carrots, about 12 to 14, cut in half

1 whole head of garlic, cloves peeled

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Mix together all the spices in a small bowl. This will make more spice mix than you need, but it will keep well in an airtight container. Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag. Add two to three tablespoons of the spice blend into the bag. Seal and shake the bag to coat the chicken. Add the orange slices. Place the bag into the refrigerator and marinate for at least 2 hours and as much as overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Remove the chicken from the bag and place into a baking dish that has been coated with vegetable oil spray. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over the top of the chicken. Season with some of the salt and pepper.

Place the onion, carrots, garlic and chickpeas into a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the spice blend and 2 more tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the veggies around the chicken. Plop the olives and dates in and around the chicken and vegetables. Pour the wine over everything.

Bake until the chicken is cooked through (when the internal temperature reaches 165°) about 30 to 45 minutes. Pluck the chicken pieces from the sheet pan and place onto a serving platter. Spoon the pan juices, fruits and veggies over the chicken pieces. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Cook’s Tip

The best way to ensure all the chicken cooks at the same time is to make sure that the pieces are of similar size. If you have chosen to cook chicken breasts, you might cut each breast in half to match the size of the thighs.

Grilled Chicken & Luscious Stuffed Mushrooms for Dad

Grilled Chicken & Luscious Stuffed Mushrooms for Dad

It’s no secret men like to grill or watch other people grill. That’s why, for the upcoming Father’s Day weekend, I’m recommending a chicken dish that takes the blah, blah out of chicken and makes it rah-rah instead! What’s my secret weapon, you ask? Feel free to file this away for a later date because the answer isn’t grilling. To brighten up even the most boring cut of poultry, I typically turn to bone-in, skin-on, dark meat to braise, fry or roast.

For me, this cut has the most flavor. I avoid boneless, skinless breast meat, because it is easy to overcook, and needs a lot of attention in order to compete with the more flavor-filled cut. But since I think Father’s Day should be a day of special attention, in the name of loving Dads everywhere, I am going to impart my most special grilling methods – which are, as any ardent griller will tell you – all about the marinades and platter sauce.

Oh, and by the way…when I previewed this recipe with my own Fam, it scored a 10 on the health-o-meter. The less weight conscious liked the meal as well… but were looking for my peanut butter chunk cookies for dessert! Hmm…I am amused because this means that perhaps you can please everyone….

Chicken & Mushrooms for Dad

Serves 8

40 minute cuisine

For the marinade

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Juice of 2 large limes, about 2 to 3 tablespoons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

For the platter sauce

2 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, about 2 teaspoons

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

For the chicken

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

For the mushrooms

16 Portobello mushroom caps, stems and gills removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound fresh spinach leaves chopped, about 4 cups

1 large white onion, peeled and diced, about 1 ½ cups

1 (8.5-ounce) sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and diced

Prepare a platter sauce to bathe the chicken in by dotting the platter with small butter pieces, minced garlic, chopped fresh thyme and rosemary, and a generous dousing of kosher salt and coarse black pepper.

Grill the chicken, turning once, about five to six minutes per side, until it is just cooked though with just a little bit of resistance when you push your finger into the flesh. Take the chicken right from the grill and onto the platter, turning each piece a couple of times to melt the butter and heat the garlic. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and let it rest for several minutes.

For the mushrooms, sauté spinach leaves with chopped onion and sun-dried tomatoes in the olive oil.  Roast in a 375°oven for about 15 minutes. Optional: roasted baby sweet potatoes complete the meal.