Saturday, March 27, 2010

Moroccan Chicken with Carrot Purée

What fun to receive the Los Angeles Issue of Saveur Magazine!

I love reading about my city. I love movies that take place in my city. It is always a treat to uncover more about the city I live in than I already know. The latest Saveur was no exception. Jonathan Gold's
piece does a nice job of summarizing the importance of Los Angeles to the food world.

So far I've only prepared one recipe from that issue: Suzanne Goin's Moroccan Chicken with Carrot Purée.

Goin is just so amazing. Her
Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table is an outstanding –– albeit very labor intensive –– cook book. She has an uncanny ability to make a complete and perfect meal using beautiful ingredients from local farmers.

I stumbled upon this recipe and knew that I could pull it off, and hopefully entice my poultry-phobic husband to partake. My C.S.A. share has provided me with a lot of Chiccoria, otherwise know as dandelion greens, and plenty of carrots, so my shopping would be limited (thank god!).

The sweet, mild carrot purée is a lovely foil for the sharper bite of the dandelion greens and sliced shallots, which join the salty kick of oil-cured olives in the little salad. The harissa that cloaks the chicken is also echoed in the dressing for the dandelion green salad.

I'm glad she asks for sherry vinegar in the vinaigrette. I love it, and always forget that I should be using the bottle hiding in my pantry.

I don't have a grill pan, so I used my trusty iron skillet to sear the chicken. No lovely black lines, but certainly just as tasty.

The real surprise for me here was the orange sauce, consisting of orange juice, butter, and orange segments. The buttery-sweetness of this sauce brings all of the forceful flavors of harissa, shallots, olives, and dandelion greens together.

Not only is this sauce delicious on this dish, but it clearly belongs in a dessert crèpe as well.

I was thrilled by how visually beautiful this dish is, and by how well all the parts came together. My husband ate the whole thing, but somehow he still cannot mentally get past the fact that he is eating poultry. I will keep at it!

Moroccan Chicken with Carrot Purée

6 boneless skin-on chicken breasts, pounded 3/4" thick (Place them in a ziplock bag for the pounding to reduce the mess!)
16 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups chicken broth
2 pounds carrots, cut into 1/2" rounds
1 large onion, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 peeled oranges, segmented
3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons harissa
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
3 ounces dandelion greens
3/4 cup pitted oil-cured black olives, roughly chopped
2 shallots, thinly sliced

Put chicken into a dish; drizzle with 3 tablepspoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Bring broth to a boil in a 6-quart pan. Add carrots; cook for 6-8 minutes. Purée in a food processor with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper; keep warm.

Heat orange juice in a 2 quart pan. Cook until reduced by half, 12-15 minutes. Whisk in butter; season with salt and pepper. Add orange segments; set sauce aside.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in 3 batches, add chicken, skin side down; cook until crisp, 8-10 minutes. Transfer chicken, skin side up, to a baking sheet. Brush with 3/4 cup harissa. Bake until cooked, 6-8 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together remaining oil and harissa with sherry vinegar. Add greens, olives, and shallots; toss. Divide carrot purée between 6 plates; top each with salad and a chicken breast. Spoon sauce over each.

Serves 6