The sheet pan is without a doubt our kitchen’s blue ribbon workhorse. The ability to make a complete meal in one pan, all at the same time, with minimum preparation and very little cleanup is a WIN! One of the distinctive features of Moroccan cuisine is the marrying of sweet and savory flavors. This richly spiced chicken paired with dried apricots and olives has such a warm full flavor, while still being a very healthy dish. Certainly save the remainder of your spice mix in an airtight jar for when you make this dish again, or add it to vegetables or chicken on another occasion. Cutting up the cauliflower is the only real effort required and you can easily do that ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Be careful with turmeric as it can stain countertops and clothing.
Prep Time: About 1 hour
Cook Time: About 35 minutes
Marinate at least 8 hours or overnight
3 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
2 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
8 chicken thighs (2-3 pounds)
2 tablespoons spice mix
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large large head of cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
1 tablespoon spice mix
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 1/2 cups pitted Castelvetranos green olives, 1 cup cut in half, 1/2 cup left whole
1 cup dried apricots, chopped (soak in hot water for 5 minutes and drain)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)
1 lemon cut into wedges, for garnish (optional)
CHICKEN MARINADE: (at least 8 hours or overnight)
- Combine the spices for the spice mix in a dry sautée pan over low heat and toast them gently until they release their fragrance; about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Because you will only use a portion of the spice mix, put the extra in an air tight container and store in a cool dry place. Label and date the container so you can use it for next time.
- In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of spice mix, apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
- Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
CAULIFLOWER MIX and CHICKEN:
- Preheat your oven to 450ºF. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine the spice mix, olive oil, cayenne pepper, salt, saffron and ginger.
- In a large bowl, drizzle mixture evenly over cauliflower and toss to coat.
- Add olives and apricots; toss to incorporate.
- Spread cauliflower mixture onto the prepared sheet pan in a single layer.
- Remove chicken thighs from marinade, place them on top top of the cauliflower spaced evenly and discard any remaining marinade.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. The cauliflower should be brown and the chicken should be cooked through (165ºF).
- After the chicken is baked, if you used skin on thighs and you’d like to crisp the skin, broil it for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
- Remove the chicken from the pan onto a plate and toss the cauliflower mixture with the pan drippings. Be careful not to rip the parchment paper.
SERVING: Serve the chicken and cauliflower together with a garnish of chopped cilantro.
STORAGE: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days.