This recipe is one of my all time favorite chicken dishes. I came across this recipe in one of the many Nestle cookbooks I own. It was sandwiched between cookies and brownies, and I almost missed it. I am so glad I didn't!!! It is a wonderful meal, that while using some very common ingredients you can make something that tastes quite different and even a little exotic. There is a TON of flavor in this dish, but nothing is too spicy or overpowering- my 3 year old absolutely loves it! Now I know the thought of putting raisins in the rice might seem odd, but please don't omit them. They completely round out the dish. The raisins plump up nicely and add just the perfect touch of sweetness to balance the flavors of cumin and paprika. Oh and guess what, it is soooo simple! It is a quick weeknight meal, but also special enough to serve while entertaining.
When I made this on Tuesday night I had to do a few alterations. I found that I was fresh out of cumin, so I substituted 1 tablspoon of curry powder plus a few shakes of cinnamon and a few shakes of chili powder in place of it. I also didn't have any canned diced tomatoes. Instead, I replaced them with 4 fresh tomatoes I diced, but still incorporated the juices. I also didn't have any almonds on hand, so I just omitted them. The dish was just as amazing! This just goes to show how important it is to get to know your spices and not to be afraid to play around with them a bit.
Moroccan-Spiced Chicken With Rice
6 cups cooked long or medium grain brown or white rice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground paprika
6 chicken thighs, skin removed**
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ Carnation evaporated milk
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, drained
2/3 cup raisins
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds (optional)
Preheat oven 375º F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Combine cumin, salt, black pepper and paprika in small bowl; sprinkle 2 teaspoons spice blend on both sides of chicken thighs.
Heat olive oil and garlic in large skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in skillet; cook for 4 minutes per side or until browned.
Meanwhile, combine cooked rice, evaporated milk, tomatoes, raisins, lemon juice and remaining spice blend in large bowl. Pour rice mixture into prepared baking dish. Place chicken thighs on top of rice mixture.
Bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Sprinkle with almonds before serving.
**Boneless chicken thighs can also be used. Reduce bake time by 10 to 15 minutes.