Pressure Cooker Moroccan-ish Chicken

A Fragrant Pressure Cooker Treat

It started out one morning when one of my facebook friends posted a picture of an Egyptian Chicken dish that he had received from one of those food delivery services. Thinking it looked kind of tasty, I did a search for Egyptian chicken and didn’t find anything that looked like the photo. During my search, recipes for Moroccan chicken started coming up as well, presumably because both countries are in North Africa (well, Egypt is at least partially). Some of these looked quite delicous as well, so I started searching for recipes for Moroccan chicken.

One thing I discovered is that Moroccan chicken is more of a concept than a concrete thing. There are many recipes around calling themselves Moroccan chicken, and they all have certain things in common such as similar spices, and ummm, chicken (duh). Some of the recipes are stew-like and some of them are grilled, some are cooked in the oven and some are cooked on the stove, some even using the traditional tajine (Wikipedia Definition) method of cooking. I mostly used this recipe from Simply Recipes as my jumping off point, but I took some ideas from a bunch of recipes, adapting it of course, to the pressure cooker. I also noticed later that Laura at Hip Pressure Cooking has a recipe for Moroccan Lamb which uses similar spices. I will have to try that one sometime as well.

For this recipe, I used the Phased Cooking Method as explained on Miss Vickie’s Website.

 While I was preparing this, the S.O. said several times “mmmm… something smells reeaally good!” And it is really the spice combination that earns this the “Moroccan” moniker. I’m pretty sure you couldn’t order something like this in the dining car of the Marrakesh Express, which is why I named it “Moroccan-ish” Chicken.

I served this with couscous with toasted almonds and saffron (I just happened to have some saffron. It’s probably not worth paying the high price of saffron just for this purpose).

When I took some leftovers for lunch at work the next day, after the juices had soaked into the couscous, it was even tastier than the first night.

I bought some pitted green olives from the olive bar at the local Whole Foods Market, which were very good, but if you can’t find pitted olives just make sure that everyone is aware of the pits when serving.

Also, I probably would have used raisins, but I had some dried cranberries left from my Thanksgiving dinner, so I used those, but feel free to substitute raisins.
So, after the roundabout internet journey that led me to this dish, this is what I came up with:

Pressure cooker Moroccan-ish chicken

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 chicken thighs
2 bay leaves
10 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon paprika
2 onions chopped
5 cloves garlic chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup green olives
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped italian parsley
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions
Put bay leaf, cardamom and cloves in spice bag to make it easy to remove them later (slightly break cardamom pods to release flavor)

Add next six spices to a small bowl to make it easier to add

Brown the chicken breasts in the olive oil (you will probably have to do this in a couple batches)

Remove chicken to a plate

If there is a lot of fat in the pan, drain all but a couple tablespoons

Sautee onions until translucent

Add garlic and continue to saute

Pour in the white wine, being sure to scrape up any bits of chicken on the bottom

Stir in tomato paste

Drop in spice bag

Add spices from bowl and stir

Pour in chicken broth

Add the chicken back to the pot

Cover the pot and bring to high pressure

When pressure is reached, lower heat to maintain high pressure and set timer for 15 minutes

When time is up remove from heat and do a quick release

Remove top of pressure cooker and add in the olives and cranberries

Put pressure cooker back on heat, put top on and return to high preasure for five minutes

When five minutes is up, again do a quick release

Remove top and stir in parsley and lemon juice

Serve with couccous or rice, being sure to put some of the sauce on top

Enjoy.