Moroccan Chicken and Celery Smashed Potaotes

To call this dish Moroccan chicken is kind of cheating. I didn't actually set out to create a Moroccan meal, and I suppose it's not really Moroccan, largely due to the fact that I have no idea whatsoever makes a dish truly Moroccan. It looks kind of like it, smelled kind of like it, tasted kind of like it. So, heck. Why not? 

Let's talk a little bit about cooking a whole chicken. You folks out there who look at this recipe and think, "Oh, not a chance." Think again. It's way easier than cooking miniature strips of chicken. The chances you overcook and ruin a 4 pound bird are much smaller than cooking a little strip. Anyways, please try cooking a whole chicken. You can use leftovers for all sorts of things, and it's way cheaper! 

So for your first whole chicken, make this. It's so good. This was me after pulling the chicken out of the oven... Best Website Ever  Don't forget to check out the awesome recipes below for celery and buttermilk smashed potatoes, and fried okra. Mmmm a little taste of the South.

Moroccan Chicken

1 whole roasting chicken
1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
1 lemon (zested and quartered)
10-15 cloves garlic (whole and unpeeled)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp turmeric
2 tbsp Hungarian paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean your chicken before starting. Rinse the whole thing, and pat dry with paper towels. Place in your baking dish to prepare.

Coat the whole chicken with salt and pepper, and then slather in olive oil. Rub the coriander, turmeric, paprika and lemon zest all over the bird (top, bottom, wings, legs). 

Stuff 2 quarters of the lemon and about 5 cloves of garlic in the cavity. The rest of the lemon and garlic cloves go in the bottom of the baking pan with all the chicken broth, the cherry tomatoes and some salt and pepper. 
Cover dish with foil, and pop in the over for 90 minutes. When there are about 20 minutes left, remove the foil.

Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes. Move the bird to a cutting board to serve. Remove the garlic paper and lemon, and add the juice and tomatoes at the bottom of the pan to a small sauce pan on the stove top. Bring to a simmer and let thicken for about 5 minutes. Serve as sauce over the sliced chicken.

This dish was honestly one of my favorite things I have ever made. Once you pop the birdie in the oven, your job is done. YUM! But wait, this blog keeps getting better. Fried okra and celery smashed potatoes are next. 

Celery and Buttermilk Smashed Potatoes

5-6 medium red potatoes (quartered)
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons goat cheese
4 stalks celery with lots of leaves (rough chop)
1/2 tablespoon celery seeds
salt and pepper

Add potatoes to a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil, and let it cook until a fork slides in the potatoes easily. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl or pot.

Add the buttermilk, sour cream, goat cheese, celery seeds and salt and pepper to the potatoes. Smash until they are creamy, but still have lumps. Stir in the celery at the end, just to incorporate.

Fried Okra

1/2 - 1 lb fresh okra
2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Rinse okra and trim. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. In a freezer bag, add bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.In a bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs and buttermilk.

Heat the oil in a high sided frying pan, over medium-high heat. 

In two batches, dredge the okra in the egg mixture. Transfer to the breadcrumb bag, and shake around until the okra is coated in a breadcrumb crust. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the oil. Cook both batches for about 10 minutes each, shaking around to make sure all sides of the okra crisp up nicely. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel lined dish to drain extra oil.

Pop them in your mouth like little chips! This has to be one of my most favorite dishes I took away from South Carolina with me. Fried okra with ranch. Please don't knock it till you try it. Amazing. Rockaway in Columbia, anyone?

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