Saturday, July 05, 2008

Created for the Wedding Today: North African Chicken Medallions

For the wedding of our daughter Maria Louisa to Kevin Yates this evening, our restaurant's cooks and I made a special dish, which is presented below. Maria was born in Cameroon, in Central Africa. Kevin spent several of his growing years in Tunisia, in North Africa. And Maria and Kevin travelled widely in Morocco, also in North Africa, when they were purchasing ceramics and brassware for our kitchen-related market in Athens, Georgia. I have also spent time on work trips in North Africa. The three of us love the cooking from that region.

In their honor I created a special dish as the centerpiece of the reception dinner, spiced roasted chicken breast medallions with North African seasonings. I've called it 'Médaillons de Volaille Mariènne', wedges of chicken in a style for Maria. Not speaking Arabic, I am limited to the French which is the other language of the Magreb.

The recipe below, which is a reduction of the version for 40 pounds of chicken we used, will serve six people.

North African-Style Spiced Chicken, Médaillons de Volaille Mariènne Tim

Marinate chicken and seasonings 12 to 36 hours.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-large clove of garlic
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon oregano
3/8 teaspoon dry ground ginger
3/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Garnishes: toasted slivered almonds, pine nuts, or walnuts, plus pitted dates, golden raisins or dried apricots, and clusters of grapes

Trim away tough or excess fatty parts from chicken. Cut chicken flesh into 2-inch square medallion pieces. Mix well with the lemon juice and olive oil.

Put the garlic through a press, or mince it very finely. In a small bowl, mash the salt into the garlic, then mix in all the seasonings and cornstarch. Sprinkle a third of the mixture onto the chicken, and mix it in well. Sprinkle the chicken with another third of the seasonings, and mix well. Repeat with the last third of the spices.

Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes, and mix it well again. Place it in a zip-lock plastic bag, and let the chicken marinate overnight or longer, refrigerated. Mix it from time to time by squeeing the bag to move the pieces around.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the chicken pieces on a large baking sheet so they do not touch each other. Roast 6 minutes, and remove from the oven. With a spatula, turn the chicken, and quickly return it to the oven. Roast for another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (split a piece with a knife and be sure there is no pink color in the center). Remove from the oven and cool.

Serve cold or at room temperature on a platter. Garnish, as desired, with a selection of dried fruits and nuts. (Toast the nuts dry on a baking sheet at 300 degrees, stirring and checking for doneness occasionally. Toasting time will be 4 to 8 minutes, depending on the nut used.) For extra color, cut small bunchettes of grapes and arrange them on and around the chicken.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a smashing success! Thanks Dad, we were honored -maria

11:57 AM  

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