Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Moroccan Chicken Stew with Dates

When I think of dates, I think of that unforgettable soft, sticky, melting texture. That dark plump skin and a hard long pit in the middle. Popping the whole date into your mouth, gently biting into it is a sensual experience if you take your time to appreciate it. But dates are not just sweet and delicious. They also store a great wealth of nutritional properties that are so important for our well-being. Dates are also considered to be powerful aphrodisiacs. Ayurveda practitioners believe that it increases the amount of sperm in men as well as its quality. Because they are filled with good sugars, they are great energy boosters. In other words, it is a great snack option before you go for a jog or before a passionate night (or day) of love making.

Using dates in savoury dishes is a common practice in Moroccan cuisine. When used in stews, they become rehydrated and plump. They release that wonderful sweetness and when paired with the right spices, create a memorable flavour profile that is almost irresistible. This dish calls for other spices that are known to have "sexy" properties. Warm, inviting cinnamon, smoky cumin, healing turmeric and invigorating ginger. All come together to complement one another and other flavours in the stew. Chicken is the star ingredient in this Moroccan stew but to me it's all about the dates. Bursting with aromatic warm broth, so sweet and so fleshy. But start with simply enjoying a raw date. Look at it, smell it, lick it, taste it and see where it takes you. Recipe is just an inspiration. How you achieve your ultimate satisfaction is entirely up to you. 


10 drumsticks, 2 onions, 15 pitted dates, 6 cloves of garlic, some parsley for garnishing. For the dry rub: 2 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. turmeric. 


Mix the spices together and rub over the chicken. Let it sit for 2 hours in the fridge. 

In a heavy Dutch oven seer the chicken in olive oil until brown skin forms. Remove and set aside. To the same pot add onions, garlic, dates and sauté for few minutes. Bring back the chicken and add enough water to almost cover the contents of the pot. Simmer for 40 minutes. Serve over rice or couscous. Sprinkle with parsley. 

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