Fare Exchange: Moroccan chicken stew over couscous

Fare Exchange: Moroccan chicken stew over couscous

May 30th, 2012 by Jane Henegar in Life Entertainment

To Reach Us

Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.

• Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750.

• E-mail: janehenegar@gmail.com.

• Fax: 423-668-5092.

Good morning, readers. We are in a stew, and a crunch, in the recipes that follow, and right now we've got several pickles: one-pan butterscotch brownies, fried chicken like the version served at Bea's Restaurant and a pistachio cake and salad.

The brown sugar/butterscotch brownies, which our Exchanger once observed being made, involved a baking pan for melting the butter, and then all the ingredients were stirred into the melted butter with a wooden spoon, after which the brownies were baked in the same pan.

An aficionado of Bea's Restaurant, the legendary chicken emporium, wants to make that chicken at home, with its "slight sweetness and a soft, light coating."

Finally, a reader has come home from Costco with a big bag of pistachios and was thereby reminded of a green pistachio cake and a fluffy gelatin salad flavored with pistachio. He would like to try them at home.

Ilene Malone of Hixson joined several others in digging up the requested chicken cobbler casserole from Southern Living, printed last week. The same article contained two other chicken recipes that also looked irresistible, so thank you, Ms. Malone, for sending the whole article.

Crunchy Pan-Fried Chicken

This crispy coating also is terrific on skinned and boned chicken thighs or pork chops.

1/2 cup self-rising cornmeal mix

1/2 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 skinned and boned chicken breasts

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg and dredge in cornmeal mixture. Cook chicken in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until done.

Chicken and Artichoke Salad

4 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Stir together all ingredients; cover and chill until ready to serve.

Helen Cooper gave us a delicious collection of recipes, two of which we'll share with you today.

Moroccan Chicken Stew

4 cans or 2 quarts homemade chicken broth

2 cups diced, cooked chicken breast

1 small bunch green onions, rinsed, trimmed and sliced to 1/4-inch pieces, plus or minus

1 large yellow onion, diced small

1/2 pound fresh green beans, very small snap beans or 1 small can drained green beans

1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained, or garbanzos

2 medium carrots (not baby carrots), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 small jar capers

1 teaspoon curry powder

Kosher or sea salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon white pepper (add more after everything is mixed, if desired; better with a little bite)

4 to 5 Roma tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped (or 1 can diced tomatoes)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped, as much as you like (optional)

Couscous (the small Middle Eastern kind, found in the rice section; do not use flavored rice)

Reserve the broth in which you cooked the chicken, or use canned broth. Cut meat off and either use then or freeze until later. For bones from about 10 pounds of chicken, use about 11/2 gallons of water and cook for about 6 hours at a slow simmer. This produces optimum flavor for the broth. When cooled, dip out the bones and let broth cool enough to handle safely. When it is cool, strain it into a couple of large, wide-mouthed pitchers; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This allows fat to rise to the top and be removed easily by folding a paper towel and dipping the fat out. Broth may then be used or frozen for later.

For stew, bring broth to a slow boil and add onions, beans, carrots, capers with liquid, curry, salt and white pepper. When carrots are tender (15 to 20 minutes or so), taste the broth and add more of any of the seasonings if you want. Add chicken and tomatoes. Cook a few minutes to let flavors marry, then taste again for seasoning correction. Add cilantro last.

Prepare couscous according to directions. Spoon couscous into soup bowls and add stew. This is a great dish for a light supper, served with hummus and pita bread. Stew freezes well.

With the addition of another pint or two of chicken broth, stew may be served in a mug to sip.

Tangy Potato Salad

Potatoes: small red, white or fingerlings

Dijon mustard

Hellmann's real mayonnaise (light mayo may be used if salad is to be served immediately)

2 tablespoons fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill

1 or 2 tablespoons capers, drained

1/2 red pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 yellow pepper, seeded and diced

Kosher or sea salt, to taste

Cook potatoes until done but not mushy. Rinse under cool water to stop cooking, and if skins are tough, remove them. Allow potatoes to cool or store in fridge for hours or overnight. Drain potatoes on paper towels or newspaper to remove all moisture. Cut into bite-size pieces or leave whole if they are small and place in a large bowl, preferably glass.

Mix equal parts of Dijon mustard and mayonnaise and taste. Add more mayo if mustard is too tart for you. When you get the mix to your taste, add dill and stir well. Add peppers and capers to potatoes, and toss lightly to mix; add mustard/mayo/dill mix, and stir all together gently. Lick the spoon to see if it needs any more salt. If using Hellmann's Dijonnaise, because it is tart, a little more mayo is needed.

Great with burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs or for a light supper. Slice a home-grown tomato, and that makes a meal.

The thought of a dill-laced potato salad made me think of fresh dill and other fresh herbs now available at garden stores and now flourishing in gardens at home.

Let us know how you use fresh herbs in your cooking, will you? And we'll watch for you next week, hopefully every one of you.