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Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Brochettes

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Serves eight.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 28

The North African spice rub in this recipe is based on ras el hanout, a traditional blend of spices used in grilling, roasting, and stewing. A batch of this mixture will keep for months; it pairs well with meat and fish, too.

For the rosemary oil:
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch dried red chile flakes
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the spice rub:
  • 2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbs. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1-1/2 tsp. hot chile powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. whole aniseed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. herbes de Provence (or mixed dried fine herbs)
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
For the brochettes:
  • 3 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6 large halves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon wedges for serving
Make the rosemary oil:

 In a medium saucepan, combine the garlic, pepper, chile flakes, rosemary, bay leaf, and oil. Heat on low until the oil just barely comes to a simmer and the garlic bubbles and floats to the surface, about 5 minutes. Immediately turn off the heat and allow the oil to infuse for 1 hour. When cool, strain the oil through a fine sieve. The oil should be used the same day; or you can store it in the refrigerator for a maximum of three days.

Make the spice rub:

 In a bowl, thoroughly blend all 12 spices; set aside.

Make the brochettes:

Cut the chicken into equal chunks, each about 2-1/2 inches. Put the chicken on a plate; sprinkle with enough of the spice rub to lightly coat, about 3 Tbs. (Store the rest of the spice rub in an airtight container.) Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and toss lightly.

Thread the chicken onto skewers, folding when necessary to get round, even chunks, each a little bigger than a ping-pong ball. The chicken can be grilled immediately or held in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour.

Heat your grill to medium. Grill the brochettes for 4 minutes on one side, keeping the exposed skewer ends away from the hottest part of the fire if you’re using bamboo. Turn and cook until the chicken is browned and firm, about another 4 minutes. Remove the brochettes from the grill and drizzle with some of the rosemary oil. Serve with the oil, lemon wedges, and a bowl of kosher salt for extra seasoning.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with couscous and grilled eggplant drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 490; Fat (g): fat g 38; Fat Calories (kcal): 340; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 6; Protein (g): protein g 35; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 26; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 2; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 290; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 95; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Mark Ferri

I discovered this recipe in a 10-year old copy of Fine Cooking. It's terrific. I've been marinating grilled chicken etc. for years but I like this change - first a rub then a flavorful oil poured over the cooked meat at serving time. Made a delicious entree served with sauteed spinach & Swiss chard and thinly sliced sweet potatoes and red onion slices seasoned with the Moroccan rub, a teaspoon of orange zest, sprinkled with a little oil then cooked on the grill in foil packets. A meal to remember.

very good....

A lot of small steps and not necessarily a cheap recipe either (all of the spices), but worth it. I made this for a 70th birthday party that I catered and everyone loved it. The chicken was full of flavor and moist and the oil to drizzle was a huge hit.

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