Thanksgiving: Moroccan-Style

Dinner table

Dinner table

Date-Almond Truffles - yum!

Date-Almond Truffles – yum!

Thanks can be given any number of ways and celebrated with all manner of great company (small groups or large) and fabulous foods. I’ve had traditional meals including turkey and all the trimmings. But this year, we set the turkey aside when my son and daughter-in-law opted to use recipes with a Moroccan flavor. The result was an unforgettable feast.

The main disk was tagine chicken, cooked in a special pot of the same name. The chicken was garnished with slices of lemon, olives, garlic, cilantro, onions, paprika, cumin, and saffron, as well as lemon zest. The sauce created in the pot was as flavorful as the chicken.

The tagine pot was used in the oven to bake the chicken. When removed from the oven, the pot continues to cook the food within. A tiny hole about halfway up the side of the top which resembles a hat (see it in the picture) allows the steam to escape while retaining the heat. Any liquids surrounding the meat are retained and become a delicious sauce that soaks up nicely with pieces of bread.

A raw carrot salad with the carrots slivered thinly included fresh lemon juice, parsley, cinnamon, cumin, paprika and some agave nectar (honey could as easily be used instead). My son added raisins for a dash of additional color.  The cool carrots next to the hot chicken made for variety that tickled my taste buds.

In addition, we had fresh-baked bread still warm from the oven. We garnished the bread with sesame seeds in keeping with the Moroccan theme. Each of us received an individual round of bread, even though the recipe I used for the bread was one I’ve made for more than three decades. The only change I made was to punch down the dough for a second rising and then roll each section (in this case, three) into a round before flattening it again to about one-half inch high and approximately three-four times the diameter of the round prior to flattening. We then covered the bread with a cloth before baking in the oven for about 20 minutes instead of the usual 35 for a regular loaf at 375⁰.

According to my son, the pièce de résistance was date-almond truffles, which paste was rolled in coconut. Orange blossom water added a unique flavor to the truffles. White wine for me and red wine for them completed the meal before we ended it with our favorite teas.

The three Moroccan dishes can be found online. A favorite source is http://cookingwithalia.com.  Her presentations are cheery and fun and the food spoke for itself—delicious, out-of-the-ordinary, and a perfect alternative to the typical turkey dinner, although turkey could have been used instead in the tagine pot.  The big difference would be the combination of spices used. I, for one, really like the lemony hints in both the carrot salad and the main dish.  And limiting the fare to those two dishes and the bread meant we weren’t so stuff that we couldn’t enjoy ourselves the rest of the day.

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Comments

  1. Wow — sounds amazing. I’ve only accomplished the tagine chicken w/ lemon/olives so would love to do something else that is in my ability of chicken/oiives/lemon…..

    Thanks, Kathy!!

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