I read about this dish on the Serious Eats blog much earlier in the year. Like, when kumquats were actually in the grocery stores? That's when. Kumquats should start showing up again sometime in November so when they do, you can be prepared with this luscious, warming, fragrant stew.
If you've never seen or eaten a kumquat before (like me before making this), they look kind of like much smaller, smoother-skinned oblong oranges. And they taste kind of like a lemon on the inside, but you are meant to eat the skin and that's actually a little bit sweet. I tried one, thought it was terrible at first, and then I wanted another one. There's something about the mix of slightly bitter, slightly sour, and slightly sweet that is very appealing.
In this recipe, the kumquats add a very nice citrus flavor with a little bit of sour to the stew, the prunes add a lovely sweetness and the squash helps thicken the broth. Together all the flavors combine to create something that is perfect for a cold fall or winter night.
Moroccan Chicken with Butternut Squash, Kumquats and Prunes
What you need:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 1-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 4 ounces kumquats, quartered, seeded
- 4 ounces pitted prunes
- 2 tablespoons honey
- chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper
- Cooked whole wheat couscous
What to do:
- In a large skillet (with relatively high sides-- you'll want at least 4 inches and a lid) or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then add to the skillet and brown for about 7 minutes per side.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off all but a thin film of fat from the skillet.
- Add the onions and reduce heat to medium. Sauté until very tender and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add squash and stir for about 2 minutes.
- Add cinnamon, cumin and saffron and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add chicken stock and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Add chicken with any drippings on plate, kumquats, pitted prunes and honey.
- Cover skillet and simmer until chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes.
- Uncover and boil until liquid thickens to sauce consistency if necessary.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Mound couscous on plates. Spoon chicken and sauce over. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.