Moroccan Quinoa with Dates and Chicken

This Moroccan dish was born out of necessity- necessity to find creative ways to use the three-pound container of dates that I thought was “something I needed” at Costco recently.  My original plan was to make homemade larabars, but that ended up using only about 1/3 of the dates, and left me searching for other ideas for these super sweet treats.

Josh said this recipe smelled like apple pie as it was simmering, and indeed it tasted like a sweet – dessert like entree.  Needless to say I loved it :) and Jack also very much enjoyed the quinoa.Josh ate it once, not twice, so I read that as acceptance but not quite a new fav.  I did tempt him by serving with a heap of cilantro, which I think accented the flavors nicely (and Josh will eat anything covered in cilantro).  I think it’s probably geared for those with a sweeter palate, however there’s no sugar outside from the natural sweetness of the dates, and the recipe overlal is actually wonderfully healthy.

Also, it’s a one pot wonder, perfect for any working mom.  However if I were to do it again I would only buy about 20 dates total.  If anyone has any ideas for my still lingering pound, I’m all ears.

Adapted from Epicurious, I added the quinoa and the one pot feature :)

  • 3 1/2 pounds chicken breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds shallots (about 11 large), peeled
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 12 dates, pitted, halved
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup multicolor quinoa
  1. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and flour. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken pieces to pot and cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to baking sheet or platter; repeat with remaining chicken. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot and discard. Reduce heat to medium. Add shallots to pot; sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add cinnamon sticks, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to high; add broth and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until shallots begin to soften, about 18 minutes. Place chicken pieces atop shallots in pot. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until juices run clear when thickest part of drumstick is pierced with knife, about 25 minutes.
  2. Transfer chicken and shallots to platter; tent with foil. Boil juices in pot with quinoa until quinoa is tender and all the water is absorbed. Stir in dates and remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Reduce heat and simmer gently until dates are heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve quiona and dates under chicken. Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro, and serve.
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