Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Moroccan Chicken with Apricots and Squash

It’s truly amazing how something as simple as a fragrance can take you on a journey to a place you’ve never been.  Such was the case the other evening.  I was working in the study, probably writing a new post for the Blog, when all of a sudden I felt as if I’d been transported to a bazaar somewhere in North Africa.  The delightful aroma of spices mingling hung heavy in the soft evening air.  I could almost hear the sound of merchants hawking their wares in the marketplace. But I digress.

Ever since Judy and I discovered the wonderful  foods and flavors associated with this region of the world, on those nights when one of us prepares a Moroccan dish it becomes an extra special evening. And we know that we are in for a good time.  Judy chose today’s featured recipe, and prepared the meal with precision. 

This would be a good recipe to experiment with different ingredients.  Prunes, for instance, could replace, or even be mixed with the apricots.  And another squash, such as pumpkin, or our old friend the Potimarron could be substituted for the Butternut squash.

From our kitchen to yours. Enjoy the adventure.


Moroccan Chicken with Apricots and Squash
1 tsp Salt, or to taste

¼ tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground

1 pound Chicken Breast, uncooked, boneless and skinless

3 sprays, Cooking spray

2 tsp Olive Oil

1 tsp Cumin seed

1 tsp Coriander

½ tsp ground Cinnamon

1 large Vidalia Onion, chopped

2 cups Butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes, about ¾ pound

¾ cups uncooked Brown Basmati Rice, rinsed

16 halves dried Apricot, roughly chopped

1 ½ cups canned Chicken Broth, low-sodium, fat free

¼ cup Cilantro, fresh, minced


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Rub Salt and Pepper all over Chicken; set aside

Coat a large, oven-proof pot with Cooking Spray; heat over medium heat.  Add Oil; heat until it begins to shimmer.  Add Cumin, Coriander and Cinnamon; cook until fragrant, stirring, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add Chicken and cook until lightly browned, turning once, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes per side. Remove Chicken to a plate; set aside.

Add Onion and Squash to the pot, scraping down the sides and bottom of the pot to incorporate with the pan drippings. Cook, stirring occasionally, until Onions start to turn translucent and the Squash begins to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add Rice and Apricots; place browned Chicken on top. Pour in the Broth; bring to a boil for 1 minute. Cover the pot and bake in the oven until the rice and Squash are tender and the Chicken is cooked through. Check about half way through, at 15 minutes, to see if additional Broth is needed. Cook another  10 – 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with Cilantro before serving.

Yields about four 2 cup servings, with 1 piece of Chicken per serving.  PointsPlus value per serving is 9. Prep time is about 20 minutes. Total cooking time is about 45 minutes. Level of difficulty is Easy, and it’s all in one pot.

Weight Watchers and PointsPlus are registered trademarks of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.

Recipes shown may not be exactly the same as those found on any website. Judy and I tend to "tweak" each recipe we feature, to some degree, incorporating our own unique tastes and ideas. PointsPlus values, however, are accurate. 

Photo by Barry Baruh

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