This post is part of a new mini-series of posts that I’ll be doing on my highlights and favourite memories of my travels. Rather than inundate you with a play by play of my entire trip, I’ll be sharing with you some photos, anecdotes, and inspired recipes from abroad.
It was a gorgeous day in Sevilla. After braving daylong rain showers in Barcelona and cool temperatures in Granada that left me longing for gloves, I welcomed the sun with open arms and willed it to stay for the rest of my trip (it did).
The minute I stepped off the bus in Sevilla, I knew I had made the right choice in deciding to visit it. Despite the late evening hour, the city was still alive. Store fronts welcomed customers with wide open doors and delicious smells wafted from restaurants who were just opening up for the evening. I walked behind a mother singing a Spanish lullaby to her baby with her husband by her side – and not once did I impatiently try to pass her. It was like I had all the time in the world.
That night, a new friend took me to see the tail end of a Flamenco show. I had barely gotten my bearings but he was leading me through winding corridors like a pro, taking me to a dark and deserted street and stopping in front of the entrance to a bar that I would have completely missed if I were on my own. I soaked in every minute of the seemingly impromptu performance.
I spent the next day enjoying a walking tour of the city and making new friends over beer and tapas. I tried my best to immortalize images of orange trees lining the streets and bakery windows piled high with freshly baked pastries in my mind.
That evening, I relaxed on the rooftop patio of my hostel with new friends while we sat around sharing stories and experiences. Just when I thought I couldn’t have been happier to be living in the moment, the resident chef at our hostel for the evening announced that dinner was ready.
This Moroccan chicken dinner was one of the best meals I ate on my trip. It was served with a generous portion of fluffy cous cous, and I made a serious dent with this meal.
The first thing I did when I returned to Toronto was nurse the travel bug that I caught during my trip home. That wasn’t very fun. The second thing I did, though, was gather up the ingredients necessary to recreate that perfect moment where I sat on the rooftop sipping sangria and enjoying a delicious dinner with friends.
Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas
(adapted from this recipe)
- 1 chicken breast (skin on + bone in*)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 medium carrots, chopped (if using organic, wash and leave the skin on)
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 T fresh ginger, minced
- 1 t smoked paprika
- 1 t Italian spice mix
- 1.5-2 t cumin
- 1/2 t cayenne
- 1/2 t turmeric
- 1 c crushed tomatoes
- 1.5-2 c cooked chickpeas
- 1.5 c vegetable broth (or 1.5 c water + bouillon cube)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 lemon
- Heat a large cast iron skill on medium high.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sear both sides until almost cooked through. Remove from pan and chop into smaller pieces (I used a knife strong enough to cut through the bone).
- Add onion, carrots, and celery into the skillet and cook until they are browned. Add ginger, garlic, and spices. Stir to coat vegetables and then mix in tomatoes and broth. Add chicken and chickpeas (^see note), reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Add zucchini to and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes.
- Serve with your favourite grain (I enjoyed mine with a quinoa and millet pilaf).
*You can use skinless, boneless chicken as well, but both will add so much more flavour to this dish. You can discard the skin when eating the chicken, and obviously you won’t eat the bone, but trust me on this one. Of course, you could omit the chicken entirely if you wanted to make this vegetarian.
^Depending on how well cooked your chickpeas are, you may want to adjust the time you add them in. I soaked dry chickpeas and cooked them until they were firm, but still slightly crunchy so I added them in along with the chicken to finish cooking in the broth. If using fully cooked or canned chickpeas, you may want to wait and add them in with the zucchini to keep them from overcooking.