Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chicken & Moghrabieh with a Greek Yoghurt Sauce

I recently went on a bit of a shopping spree at The Essential Ingredient. And by spree, I mean that I got a raised eyebrow from the shop assistant. It's a very dangerous place for me to be left alone in...yeah I went a little bit nuts! One of the things that I picked up was a huge bag of moghrabieh, a large couscous made from semolina. After trying it for the first time at Fouad's secret dinner, I was instantly enamoured with the texture of these little pearls. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I couldn't resist buying some for myself.

Uncooked moghrabieh
I originally wanted to just do some sort of creamy sauce with smoked chicken, but I had a bit of a failure with the grocery shopping that day and had to throw together whatever random bits I could get my hands on. I am probably mixing random foods from random cuisines that don't really go together, hopefully it's not insulting to anyone! ...But it tasted good, so that was enough to make me and the boy happy! A bit of Greek yoghurt added the creamy texture and tang that I was looking for, without being too heavy or rich. I also wanted to add broadbeans but had to substitute it with frozen peas since I couldn't find any at the time. The sauce may have been random, but was happily gobbled up, and would be good with any sort of pasta if you're not able to get your hands on some moghrabieh.

Moghrabieh with a Greek Yoghurt, Chicken & Pancetta Sauce
6 chicken thighs, sliced into chunks (I originally wanted to serve this with 200g smoked chicken)
100g pancetta
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
6 sage leaves, or whatever fresh herbs you prefer
1 cup Greek yoghurt
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine (I used a sweet sparkling one)
1 cup baby peas (or broadbeans)
1/2 cup shaved parmesan
1 cup moghrabieh (or a serve of any other pasta of your choice)
freshly ground pepper & salt

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan or pot over medium heat. Fry your onions and carrot first, allowing them to sweat and soften without burning. If you want to get your onions a bit caramelised, turn up the heat and add a teaspoon of sugar but make sure to stir it regularly to stop it from burning completely.

Put another large pot filled with water on the stove to boil for the pasta. Once the onions and carrot are very tender, add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes. Add the chicken and pancetta and cook for 3 minutes or so, until the chicken is sealed.

Add some salt then the moghrabieh to the boiling pot of water. Cook in boiling water for 20-25 minutes until tender. Add the sage and the chicken stock and simmer for a few minutes, then add the wine and allow the sauce to reduce by about half (arouns 10-15 minutes). Reduce the heat to low and stir in the peas and yoghurt. When the mograbieh is ready, drain water well and then stir into the sauce along with the parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The sauce itself is quite light but the moghrabieh was surprisingly filling. I'm still in love with their texture, pop in your mouth morsels with a smooth, soft exterior which yields to a firm middle with a bit of bite to it. I couldn't only manage the smallest serving for dinner, so this meal lasted us for ages! I have a feeling that my 1 kilo bag of moghrabieh will take me a very long time to finish, which makes it seem like good value :)
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  1. I'm intrigued to try the moghrabieh! They look like a savoury version of sago pearls!

  2. This sounds and looks good! Yes, I too have to stay away from the Essential ingredients. I always tend to overspend there.

  3. Yum, I've moghrabieh a couple of times but have yet to cook with it. I do love their texture and popping individual ones in the mouth is always fun!

  4. wow, I've never seen moghrabieh before. I love cous cous, so I $know I would enjoy this. It would be great for a cold winters night, like tonight!

  5. Hehe why did they give you a raised eyebrow? Surely they are used to shopping sprees there? Although I agree, I always end up buying way too much there... That looks delicious and I love moghrabieh but never cooked it :)

  6. Ahhh that's how they're called - I only knew them by "Lebanese couscous"

    Looking very good, would love to try!

  7. Wow what an interesting dish - don't think I've tried this before. They look like sago balls when dried.

  8. Mm... looks delicious! I am the queen of throwing whatever I have in when cooking! It's the multicultural cuisine!

  9. Oohh looks interesting, don't think I have tried moghrabieh before but anything with cheese should be good hee hee

  10. Rilsta - Haha you're right they do kind of look like that! They're about between a bubble tea pearl and a small sago pearl in terms of size, and less glutinous

    Anh - It's a very dangerous place isn't it? I just want everything!

    Helen - Hehe same here, I love how poppable they are :) You should try sometime, I bet you'd make something fantastic with it!

    Maria - Yeah I hadn't heard of it until I went to the secret dinner, but now I'm in love with it!

    Lorraine - Hehe because I couldn't even see past the pile of things I had stacked in my arms! You should get some, I loved cooking with it :)

    Yas - hehe yep that's their other name! Would be good as a midnight snack ;)

    Forager - Hehe yeah I didn't think of that until you and Rilsta mentioned it :) But it's a bit fatter than the small sago balls, baby pea sized :)

    Betty - Yeah! I can just call it fusion hahahaha!

    FFichiban - Cheese always makes everything good!


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