I’ve mentioned before how much of a cinephile I am, so it’ll come as no surprise then that when I heard that they were rereleasing Casablanca for one night in theaters to celebrate the 70th anniversary of this classic film, I jumped onto Fandango and bought my tickets immediately.
It would be too easy for me to dive into what makes this film so amazing, but this isn’t a film blog (idea for a spinoff blog maybe?), it’s a cooking blog. So to tie everything together, Kevin and I decided we would whip up a delicious Moroccan meal before we went to see the movie. It would be our first successful date night, seeing as how our Valentine’s day dinner plans were foiled by the sudden and violent onset of my stomach flu.
You will need:
- 8 chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons EVOO
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup chopped mint, plus whole leaves
- 3 tablespoons sliced or chopped kalamata olives
- 1 1/3 cups couscous
To make the chicken: rub the thighs with the cumin, salt, and pepper. In a large high-sided skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown the skin, 7 to 10 minutes per side. Add 2 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the chopped mint and olives, and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Remove the lid, increase the heat to high, and reduce the sauce for 3-5 minutes, until slightly thickened.
To make the couscous, heat 2 cups chicken stock in a medium saucepan until just boiling. Add the couscous and a pinch of salt, and cover. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Serve the chicken on top of the couscous, and spoon the sauce over the entire plate. Garnish with whole mint leaves.
Kevin and I were in such a big rush to finish cooking this meal that we were taken completely by surprise by how delicious it was. We were worried it would be boring, as the couscous was pretty bland initially. Then we poured the sauce over it, and it was phenomenal. Every single flavor worked together and created this amazing, exotic dish.
What shocked me the most was how AWESOME the fried olives were. I hate the taste of olives, but Kevin convinced me to try one, and it was unlike anything I had expected. They soaked up the flavors of the chicken stock and mint, and turned into these crispy morsels that oozed deliciousness. Like Bogey in Casablanca, this dish had a lot hidden under the surface.
So pour yourself a drink, listen to “as time goes by” again, and immerse yourself in this rich Moroccan dish as you watch this breathtaking film.
Here’s looking at you, kid