Tuesday, April 28, 2009

easy weeknight dinner: cinnamon chicken

Remember that episode of Little House on the Prairie where Mrs. Oleson tries to snag Almanzo for Nellie by having her cook him dinner, but Nellie can't cook so Laura offers to help her, all the while plotting to sabotage the dinner because she's really in love with Almanzo but she's still a kid and he doesn't see her that way? Well, the dish Laura is supposed to cook for them is cinnamon chicken. But she "accidentally" uses cayenne instead of cinnamon and totally ruins the dinner set-up. Of course, it all backfires on Laura, who gets in big trouble when Caroline finds out, plus Nellie gets back at her by feeding her incorrect information for her teacher's exam. They end up having a huge catfight in the mud, then Almanzo takes Laura home to help her clean up (because, let's face it, he loved her from the very beginning), and Charles barges in and sees Laura in a robe and thinks Almanzo has taken advantage of her. It's actually a two-part episode, that's how awesome it all is. Anyway, what was my point? Oh yeah, cinnamon chicken. I always thought cinnamon chicken sounded tasty, but of course I have no idea what Laura's cinnamon chicken contained. So I just searched around for something that sounded tasty, and this was the result.

There really is nothing more to this recipe than some cinnamon and some ginger. But the best part is that you end up cooking your starch right in the same pan, which I always appreciate. You also use the same seasoning for the couscous, and the golden raisins are the perfect hint of sweetness to give this dish a bit of a Moroccan flair. I can imagine that if Laura did cook this chicken and Nellie passed it off as her own with Almanzo, history may have turned out a bit differently and the next generation of Wilder kids would have been really really blonde. Recipe after the jump:

Adapted from Epicurious.com

4 whole chicken legs (about 3 pounds)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon ground ginger, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup golden raisins, or mixed chopped dried fruit (such as currants, apricots, and prunes)
1 14-ounce can low-salt chicken broth
1 cup couscous
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint, divided

Preheat oven to 375°F. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ginger. Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces, skin side down, and cook until skin is brown, about 8 minutes. Turn chicken and transfer skillet to oven. Roast chicken until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; tent with foil.

Discard excess chicken drippings from the pan, leaving about 1 tbsp of fat. Add onion to drippings; sauté onion over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add raisins and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ginger; stir to coat. Add broth; bring to boil. Remove skillet from heat, stir in couscous and 1 teaspoon mint. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork to separate and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mound couscous on platter; place chicken atop couscous. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon mint and serve.


Alex said...

Oh wow, Fay. This looks and sounds amazing!! I think I'm going to try it this weekend.

faycat said...

Let me know if you like it!

~Molly~ said...

I so totally LOVED LHOTP!!! Thanks for the memory!LOL My mom bought a dvd set for my daughters but they've never caught hold with them like with me. I should bust them out for a marathon!!

This recipe has 4 of my favorites right in the title! Cinnamon, Chicken, Couscous, and Golden Raisins! I will have to do this when I get the shopping done.


Mike said...

Cooking (a modified version of) this tonight! It better be good otherwise it's all your fault!

B.A.B. said...

cooking this again tonite- the kids love it out in jersey!