Golden Hour

The last few days have been a whirlwind as David and I prepped for our friend Kari’s special wedding. Luckily, all that hard work paid off and I was so proud of the florals. The wedding took place during golden hour on top of Mt. Hamilton at the Lick Observatory, and a gorgeous golden light washed the happy couple and all the guests. I had so much fun, and forgot about how tired or how worried I was about it all.

DSC_0653_editedClose-up of Kari’s bridal bouquet

Despite the stressful and long days, David and I managed to sneak in a pretty delicious meal, thanks to ATK. This recipe is super easy, really flavorful and makes a wonderful weeknight dinner. It was so easy, I didn’t even get a chance to snap pictures with my DSLR, so apologies for all the Android photos here. Enjoy with couscous and a cold beer.

Moroccan Chicken with Olives, Lemon and Dates
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, my alterations noted with an asterisk*

Ingredients
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces [or 8-10 pieces of your choice – I chose thighs with skin and bone]
1 large onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/4 tsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 c chicken stock
1 tbs honey
*4-6 dates, pitted and rough chopped
*1 medium carrot, cut into thick rounds or half-moons
1 lemon, zest + juice
1 c green olives, rough chopped
*2 big tbs capers + juice
Olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

Directions
Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or cast iron pan until it begins to smoke. Gently place the chicken pieces, skin side down, and brown until golden, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and brown the second side until brown, about another 5 minutes. Remove chicken pieces to a plate, and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Return the pan to the stove and add onions and garlic, allowing to soften and sweat. Add all the spices and stir until dark and fragrant. Stir in the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan for any browned bits. Add the honey and dates, and allow to simmer. Add the chicken pieces back to the pot and continue to simmer the chicken for another 5-10 minutes, to allow the liquids to thicken.

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Add the carrots and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Add the chopped olives and capers and the lemon zest and juice, and continue to simmer and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper, to taste. In the final minutes of cooking, stir in a bunch of roughly torn/chopped cilantro to add some brightness. Serve immediately over couscous.

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This meal comes together in under an hour, and it is really transformative – making an every day meal truly extraordinary. It’s one of those meals that makes you feel like you’ve gone somewhere really far away and exotic, and you come back feeling really refreshed and satisfied. It was the perfect meal for such a busy crazy week. Our house has been a jungle lately, flowers and greenery in every room, as we prepared for our friend Kari’s wedding. Alfred didn’t seem to mind too much though 🙂

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Thanks for reading!
AnhD

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