Posted by: dinainsuburbia | November 10, 2008

food network week day 1: Rachael Ray’s Moroccan Chili with 1,000 grains of sand

Day 1 of food network recipe week began with Moroccan Chili with 1,000 grains of sand.  I picked this recipe for a few reasons:  John and I both love chili, John prefers recipes that are “all together” and “wet”, (yes, those are his words- he likes saucy casserole-ish type recipes), I love Middle East inspired flavors, and it’s a 30 minute meal.

The original recipe called for ground lamb.  I absolutely LOVE ground lamb.  Unfortunately, John does not.  I think John doesn’t like lamb because lambs are cute.  He says it’s because they are gamey.  I, then, tell him he eats like a typical, boring American (boneless, skinless chicken breasts, nothing on the bone, etc).  This winds up creating an argument that never ends- neither one of us will concede that the other is right. 

So, instead of going around the, “you’re an idiot because you won’t eat lamb” merry-go-round… I figured I would substitute the recipe with ground pork.  Why pork?  Because, simply- I am SICK of chicken and turkey and wanted something different than beef.

The recipe was tasty with pork- but I can only imagine how much more delicious it would be with lamb.  If you like lamb- go for it, I get you (and tell me how it is, ok?).

The only other alteration I made was that I used Near East brand flavored cous cous (flavored with garlic).  Because of this, I didn’t make the cous-cous with chicken stock as suggested in the recipe.  I did still add the fruits, nuts, and herbs (reminder- keep your pine nuts in the freezer so they won’t spoil). 

I toasted whole wheat pita to up the health quotient and the whole dish came together beautifully.  Sorry no photo- my camera was upstairs and I was hungry and didn’t feel like looking around for it.  I promise, tomorrow I’ll be better.

I’m taking tonight off to go have sushi with mom (at Liki sushi, of course).  Tomorrow’s recipe will be Alton Brown’s Curry Chicken Pot Pie. 

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (a couple of palmfuls)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin (half a palmful)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika (half a palmful)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander (a palmful)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (eyeball it) in your palm
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • The zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
  • 4 pita breads
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • A handful of golden raisins, chopped
  • 4-5 dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup couscous
  • 3-4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • A handful of parsley, chopped
  • A handful of mint, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • The juice of 1 lemon

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Heat skillet with the EVOO, add meat and brown. Season the meat with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander and cinnamon. Add bay leaf, onion, bell pepper and garlic to the pan. Cook until onion is soft, 8 minutes. Add lemon zest, Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce, then stir and reduce heat to simmer.

Separate the pitas, then pile the thin layers together and cut into quarters. Spread the pita “chips” out on a large baking sheet and toast until evenly golden, 8 minutes.

Bring butter, chicken stock and dried fruit to a boil in a pot with tight-fitting lid. Add couscous, stir, then turn off heat and set lid in place. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add nuts, parsley, mint, chives and lemon juice and toss with a fork.

Ladle chili into shallow bowls and top with a small mound of “sand” and serve with pita wedge chips for scooping up Mo’ chili! Moroccans don’t use silverware, why should you?


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