When it comes to feeding a crowd this recipe is it! Whether you are feeding the family, or family and friends at a celebration, you cannot beat this Cinnamon Chicken with Rice.
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Cinnamon Chicken is an amazingly flavorful Moroccan dish. I used to teach a much more elaborate recipe in my cooking classes that required browning the chicken first and simmering the veggies in white wine before baking. But one day I was running low on time (and wine) so I popped it in the oven without browning the chicken and I used lemon juice instead of white wine and lo and behold: it was just as good (maybe better!) and the chicken was just as crispy without browning first. Win/win! Gosh I love it when a rush job actually turns into a happy accident. This meal is easy to make, beautiful, food intolerance friendly (no dairy, no gluten) quick to prep, and I have yet to meet someone that hasn’t LOVED it!
How I Do It:
I chop the onions, slice the carrots, quarter some dried plums (or apricots) and put them in a casserole dish. Then I whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, broth, garlic and middle eastern spices, and pour it over the vegetables. Then I place the chicken on top of the veggies and pop in the oven and go do other things, an hour later it’s done! A stunning, meal the family practically inhales. You can serve this meal as is, or over rice, quinoa, or couscous.
Let’s Talk Chicken my Peeps…
See what I did there? Chicken, peeps…funny. Or maybe not. When it comes to Middle eastern cooking, dark meat is the name of the game. If it were up to me I would use eight bone in skin on chicken thighs. But my better half prefers breasts (I am dying to make another lame joke here, but I will resist) so honoring our love and our marriage vows I appease him and add white meat. You could also use a whole chicken cut into eight pieces: 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs and 2 wings…whatever floats your boat!
This chicken has a golden crispy skin because we place it close to the heating element and it’s incredibly tender because it literally steams from underneath as the sauce comes to a boil. I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
The Recipe: Cinnamon Chicken and Rice~Gluten and Dairy Free!
Serve this flavorful chicken over rice, couscous, or quinoa! This recipe is gluten and dairy free.
- 1 medium white onion peeled and sliced
- 6-8 carrots peeled and sliced diagonally and thinly (between 1/8 and 1/4 inch)
- 4 dried apricots or dried plums quartered (I prefer plums for the color)
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus a little more to brush on chicken
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper depending on your taste buds
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dried cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to sprinkle on chicken
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus more for chicken
- 4 large cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 8 pieces chicken bone in skin on (I prefer thighs but you can also cut up a whole chicken: 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings, or use whatever mix of breasts and thighs you wish)
- Serve over rice quinoa, or couscous cooked to package instructions.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place oven rack in upper third of oven
Prepare onions, carrots and dried plums or apricots and place into a large casserole dish
Whisk together all other ingredients and pour over veggies
Place chicken pieces on top of veggies skin side up
Use a pastry brush to brush chicken skin with olive oil and season to taste with sea salt and pepper
Place in oven and cook for 45 minutes at 425 degrees, then turn oven down to 375 and cook for 15 more minutes
Serve over rice, quinoa, or couscous prepared to package instructions and spoon the juices over your meal!