I grill a lot. You may have noticed this by reading southbyse.com. It is just easy since we live in such a temperate climate here in the Lowcountry. I also like the fact that with the gas grill it’s an easy cleanup and we keep the heat out of the house, especially this time of year.
Grilled chicken is a family favorite, but it can get boring – it’s chicken after all. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and I found a great one with this Moroccan chicken. It is based on a Bon Appetite recipe from 2003 and honestly, it is almost the same. Here are the few differences and tips I have incorporated after making this many, many times:
• The original recipe calls for only olive oil but I have found that using mostly canola oil (or safflower or grape oil) is better since olive oil has a lower burn temperature.
• I also like this with drumsticks and thighs as I find grilled chicken breasts seems to dry out – plus I like the rich flavor of ‘dark meat” chicken. Oh, thighs and legs are less expensive too.
• Use bone-in chicken not boneless. The bones add flavor and give the meat something to hang on to… boneless thighs tend shrink up to nothing. By the same measure I prefer leaving the skin on as it helps keep the meat moist and makes for a prettier presentation too with a nice grill-mark sear on the grill.
This grilled chicken is a superb entrée for a crowd and since should soak awhile, it’s mostly a do-ahead recipe. You can easily double or triple this recipe. If you want to go authentic Moroccan serve with a couscous salad, grilled eggplant and mint tea. Or go Southern-style with homemade potato salad, grilled zucchini squash and Vidalia onions and iced tea (or a fairly full-bodied Chardonnay or Saint-Véran Burgundy).
Grilled Chicken, Moroccan-style
- Chicken pieces: mixed thighs and drumsticks, 12 pieces in total. Do NOT use boneless.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup canola oil (or safflower or grape oil)
- 1/2 cup vinegar – mild such as rice wine vinegar
- 2 oranges, 1 squeezed (reserve juice) and 1 sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 2 limes, sliced
- 3 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. sugar (Demera or light brown)
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
Wash and dry chicken pieces and set aside. In a bowl mix the oils, vinegar, spices and salt. Add in the juice from 1 orange. Add sliced fruits. In a large zippered plastic bag or shallow container add chicken and pour the marinade and fruit over the chicken. Cover or secure the bag and place in the refrigerator to marinate at 8-12 hours. Turn the mixture over a few times throughout the marinating time.
Prepare your grill. When ready, sear chicken pieces on the grill, careful that they do not burn. Since the marinade contains a lot of oil (and if the skin is left on the chicken) it will easily catch on fire. Grill until cooked through. Serve immediately. Serves 6.