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I said I’d do a bit more on roasted fowls as a follow-up to that Moby-Dick passage.  Instead, last night, I braised chicken legs with Moroccan spices, and stirred it all up with some roasted eggplant.

We’re in Brookline for a few days, before we take off for Rome (tomorrow!), so I went to Whole Foods for the ingredients.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a Whole Foods, mainly because of where we’ve been living, and re-entering that hate-to-love-it-love-to-hate-it temple of food was an interesting experience of thrilled disappointment.  I know this is the classic complaint against Whole Foods, but I’ll voice it again anyway: Where is all the local food? Why is all the produce from California when Massachusetts farmers’ markets are bursting with bounty right now?  I know, it’s the logic of industrial organics, the economics of scale.  But I was still disappointed.

Anyway, I shopped as locally as I could for the basic recipe I had in mind.  The spices and herbs were already at the house.  I needed just a few organic chicken legs, two eggplants, and some Israeli cous cous.  Here’s what I made:

moroccan chix

Moroccan Chicken
serves 4-8, depending

1 onion, chopped
4 chicken legs
2 eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. honey
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tbs. salt
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 lg. can whole peeled tomatoes
2 tbs. chopped fresh marjoram

The chicken tastes best if you start the day before, and marinate it over night.

With a mortar and pestle, crush caraway seeds, salt, and garlic together, then combine in a large bowl with lemon juice, honey, and olive oil.  With mortar and pestle, crush the other seeds, then add all the spices to the lemon-honey mixture.  Put the chicken in this marinade, coat all over, and refrigerate over night.

Preheat oven to 400. Toss cubed eggplant in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for 20-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, saute onion in a dutch oven, add the tomatoes, add the chicken, and braise for 40 minutes or so.  Before serving, over cous cous, stir in the eggplant and let it all sit and blend for a few minutes.

(Take the spice amounts as rough measurements, and season to your taste. i.e. Add more cumin!)

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