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Chicken, Sephardic (M, TNT)
Source: "Melting Pot Memories," by Judy Bart Kancigor
Serves: 4 to 5

Moroccan Spice Mix:
1 small cinnamon stick
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. whole cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (or use sliver whole nutmeg)
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom (or seeds of 6 pods)
1/4 tsp. allspice

1/2 cup Passover cake meal
1 tablespoon Moroccan spice mix (plus 1 tsp. or more for seasoning)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
4 to 5 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (whatever fits in your largest skillet)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 to 8 shallots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup leeks (white part only), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon margarine
1-1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Grated zest of half a lemon
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1/2 cup halved dried apricots, plumped in orange juice to cover
1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
1 tablespoon drained capers (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon light soy sauce (optional)

Combine spices in spice grinder or coffee mill and grind until fine and well mixed.

On a dinner plate, combine cake meal, 1 tablespoon Moroccan spice mix, 1 teaspoon salt, and paprika.

Place each breast half in a Ziploc bag and pound until even in thickness. Dry between paper towels until as dry as possible.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large, heavy frying pan and sauté shallots and leeks over medium heat until soft but not brown, about five minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are soft and reduced in size. Remove shallots, garlic, and mushrooms from pan and set aside. Do not wash pan.

Just before browning, coat chicken thoroughly in cake meal mixture, shaking off excess. Add 2 tablespoons oil and margarine to same pan and sauté chicken over medium-high heat a few minutes on each side, just to brown. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Drain any excess oil from pan, if any, being careful not to discard brown bits. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, scraping bits from bottom of pan. Reduce heat and add shallots-leek-garlic and mushroom mixture, wine, honey, grated fresh ginger, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and zest.

Bring to boil and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add olives, apricots, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and 1 teaspoon Moroccan spice mix (or to taste.) Continue simmering 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken to skillet, cover with sauce, cover pan and simmer about 5 minutes. Turn breasts, and continue cooking, covered, another 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Poster's Notes:
If you are making this dish for a crowd and want to do it in the oven rather than the top of the stove, just brown the chicken as indicated and make the sauce. Reduce it until you are happy with it and pour over browned chicken in a baking dish. It only needs about 15 minutes or so at 350°F, because it is half cooked in the browning. The timing depends on the thickness of your chicken breasts. It also will freeze well and can be reheated covered.

Posted by Judy Bart Kancigor

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A