Chermoula Chicken & Saffron Rice

Sunday, February 12th, 2012 | click here to comment

When it comes to cooking during the week, I like to keep it simple and do a few meals that can go from prep to plate in under an hour. But, that doesn’t mean that I want to skimp on flavor just because something is simple to prepare.

One of my favorite quick and easy meals to make is chermoula chicken, which is made from a Moroccan sauce bursting with spice goodness. The sauce is so versatile it could work on a variety of meats, including fish, and takes practically no time to prepare.

I almost always have chermoula chicken with saffron rice, which is so ridiculously easy to make you will want to buy huge $40 bags of saffron just so you can make it all the time. 

This recipe is based on an adaption from Epicurious by the Eclectic Cook. I’m heavy handed with spice and I like a bit of heat, so I adjusted the spicing proportions to suit my own taste. What you want to achieve is a bit of tang, some herbaceous flavor, a little heat and some smokiness, but the sauce is flexible enough that you can adjust to your preferences.

After you marinate the chicken for a bit (I’ve found 30 minutes is enough time), you put them on skewers, slap them on the grill and a few minutes later you’re good to go.

The saffron rice is even easier to make. Seriously, it requires just a few ingredients and comes out delicious and perfectly every time. I kid you not. It barely sticks to the bottom of the pot and is fluffy and wonderful when you take the lid off after 20 minutes. The secret to making great saffron rice is butter and liberal amounts of saffron. I used to be frugal with the amount of saffron I used since it tends to cost a pretty penny, but I quickly realized that the intense color and flavor only comes from using more than you would normally be comfortable with.

If you can spare 20 minutes (not including prep), you will have an awesome gluten-free meal that will shake up that weekly dinner menu just enough to keep you on your toes. 

Chermoula Chicken 

  • 1 cup cilantro 
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 lemon 
  • 2.5 tsp sweet paprika 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1.5 tsps cumin
  • 1 tsp tumeric 
  • 1.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4-5 garlic cloves 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
Add all ingredients except oil to a food processer. Blend. Drizzle in oil slowly as the processor is running to create a sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Pour 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the sauce on the chicken cubes and marinate for a least a half hour. After a half hour, add cubes of chicken to a skewer and grill until cooked through. 

Saffron Rice 
  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 2 tblsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp of saffron 
  • 1 tsp of salt 
  • 2 cups of water
Bring water to a vigourous boil. Pour about 1/4 cup of the boiling water onto the saffron and steep for a few minutes. I like to stir it around to really get the saffron to release its color. 
Melt butter in a pot, add rice and keep stirring until the rice absorbs the butter. Don't let the rice brown. Add boiling water, salt and saffron to the rice pot, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook rice for 20 minutes. Resist the urge to uncover the rice while it's cooking. Trust me, it wont stick to your pot and you want the rice to be fluffy and wonderful once you uncover it at the 20 minute mark. 


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