Monday, October 14, 2013


How's about some Chermoula recipes, y'all? Yeah, I know I'm a good bit behind in posting these. I've been kinda busy and totally forgot about them.

As you know, Chermoula is a popular condiment/marinade in Moroccan cooking, especially with fish. And while it's been slowly making it's way into into American cooking over the last several years (the NY Times posted a recipe in 2009), it's still not very well known around here, even among folks who cook for a living. That needs to change, because Chermoula is easy to make and tastes amazing. You *will* impress your friends and loved ones if you make them a dish with it. Even more so if you mix it with the Orange-Cardamom marinade from one of my previous posts!

I've been taste-testing some different fresh Chermoula recipes and have found at least one really excellent recipe online, and made up a couple of my own that I'm also proud of. Today's first recipe is for the online one, the other (my) two follow behind.

Let's take a look at the photo-

chermoula photo chermoula_zps81471ef2.jpg

The spoon on top is the recipe from Choosy Beggars.

Here's the quick details-

small bunch cilantro (1/2 cup finely chopped)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp smoked paprika*
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (or 1/2 preserved lemon, juice and flesh)

*If you don't have smoked paprika you can sub regular (which is what I did), but smoked is definitely recommended.

Simply mince everything up finely and mix it up in a bowl. (You could use a food processor, but this is how they outlined it on their website, and I wanted to follow their recipe as closely as possible, so I opted not to.)

Looking at the recipe before I made it, I honestly didn't expect to like it. It seemed to have about half the oil it needed and twice the lemon and chili flakes. Turns out that's not the case- it's excellent! (In fact, if you eliminated the oil and added some diced tomatoes it could also be used as an excellent salsa.)

As for how to use Chermoula, there are plenty of ideas to be found online, but one way in particular that I like is to use it as a marinade for baked chicken**. (And then to drizzle the reduced drippings over oven-roasted potatoes and onions!) Simply coat your favorite chicken parts (boneless breast is quite common, though thigh meat is much more flavorful) in a very generous helping of Chermoula and let set for an hour or two (or more) to marinate. Then bake on 350 F, along with all of the marinade, in a foil pouch or partially covered baking dish, until done (an internal temp of 165 F is recommended). As previously mentioned, drizzle the drippings over oven roasted potatoes and onions. Serve the potatoes and chicken together, with a cilantro garnish (and maybe some feta or goat cheese), and you and your friends are in for a treat!

**For extra juicy chicken, I highly recommend brining the chicken before you marinate it. While there are many elaborate brines out there with all sorts of spices and flavorings, 2-4 T kosher or sea salt per half gallon of water is all that's really needed for absolutely delectable chicken. Throw in some sugar if you're feeling sassy, but it's not really necessary. 1/2 hour to several hours, depending on your schedule, then coat in the marinade.

And now here's two of my own that I really like. (These also are great when combined with the Cardamom-Orange Marinade I told you about recently.) The two are pretty similar (but definitely different). And don't worry if you don't have everything necessary to make them, such as the Chimayo chile powder called for in the first one - I'm a firm believer in using recipes as guidelines (think of a recipe as a basic outline rather than a set of specific, necessary instructions) and going with whatever suits you instead! Here's the first one I tried-

35 g cilantro
20 g flat leaf parsley
25 g garlic (5 cloves)
25 g ginger
1 1/2 T coriander
1 1/2T cumin
1 1/2T paprika
1 1/2T Chimayo chile powder
1 T turmeric
juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
3 finger pinch of kosher salt

Don't have a digital kitchen scale? No problem, just start with one bunch each of parsley and cilantro (use a little less parsley); as for the ginger, just pick up 5 cloves of garlic and use your best guess as to an equal amount of ginger. (Seriously, it's really that simple.) Use more or less depending on your preferences. As for the Chimayo chile powder, regular chile powder would work, but if you can get guajillo or ancho, those would be closer. (If using whole chiles, start with 3-4.) Simply drop everything into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Second recipe is as follows-

40 g cilantro
20 g flat leaf parsley
25 g garlic (5 cloves)
25 g fresh ginger
1 1/2 T coriander
1 1/2T cumin
1 1/2T paprika
1 T dried mint
1 1/2 t chili flakes
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 c + 2 T neutral oil
Two 3 finger pinches of kosher salt

As you can no doubt see, this one is pretty similar to the first one, but it's different enough to stand on its own too. If you look at the photo above, the first spoon is the recipe from Choosy-Beggars, the second spoon is the second recipe, and the last spoon is the third recipe. You can see the greener color from the added cilantro and the addition of mint. As with the first recipe, simply drop everything into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. As for how to use Chermoula, besides marinating and baking chicken, and then drizzling the juices over oven-roasted potatoes and onions, Chermoula also goes especially well with (and is traditionally used over) fish. As for our dried Chermoula, if you mix it with roughly equal parts olive oil, and lemon juice to taste, it can be used exactly how you'd use the fresh stuff, but we've heard great reviews of folks sprinkling it into ground beef for tacos (in place of traditional taco seasoning) and over rice with a splash of fresh lime juice and a pinch of cilantro, as well as mixing it into ground turkey for a definitely non-traditional pasta sauce! Fresh or dried, I highly recommend you try some Chermoula soon!

 photo chermoula_zps6208f85c.jpg