Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Marinated Moroccan Tofu/Chicken with Dried Fruit Topping
This was originally a recipe for Moroccan Chicken with Dried Fruit and Olive Topping, but I don't like olives, and in the spirit of the vegan-ness of the dinner the other night, I substituted tofu for the meat. So, this is no longer the *most* authentic ethnic dish, but that did not make it any less delicious! Feel free to substitute 1/2 cup of chopped, pitted green olives for 1/2 cup of the dried fruit, should you so desire. And obviously, you could substitute chicken for the tofu as well - but you don't need to. And don't let the length of this recipe fool you; this is a piece of cake to prepare and is sure to please!
Marinated Moroccan Tofu with Dried Fruit Topping
3-5 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 -1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 packages extra firm tofu, with water drained and pressed for at least 20-30 min. (see below)
1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice
6 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 cup chopped onion
4 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 1/2 cup dried mixed fruit (I used figs, apricots, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, papaya, and mango)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable broth OR fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives (completely optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the marinated tofu:
Preheat oven to 425 F.
To drain the tofu: Drain water from the package of tofu, and place it on a paper towel on a level surface. Take another paper towel and press down to get some of the water out. Replace both paper towels, adding a few more underneath and on top of the tofu, and put a plate with a large book onto the tofu and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes until the water has been pressed out of it. Slice it into 1/2-inch thick pieces (I ended up with about 8 pieces per piece of tofu).
In a small bowl, put the 4 tbsp. olive oil, and all of the spices through the thyme. Mix well. Dip each piece of tofu into the oil mixture and hold it over the bowl for a minute or so to let the excess oil drip off. Place the piece of tofu onto a flat baking pan that has been covered in foil. Place the pan on the very bottom rack of the oven and bake the tofu on each side for about 10-15 min., or until each side is well-browned. Remove from oven; set aside.
For the rice:
Boil salted water for the Jasmine rice, and when it has boiled, add the rice, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cumin, and coriander. Bring back to a boil, then turn the heat down very low, cover, and steam for 20-30 minutes until done. Remove cinnamon stick and cardamom pods before serving.
For the dried fruit topping:
Chop the onion and place in a pot with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sauté for about 2 minutes, and as the onion starts to cook, add the minced garlic. When the onion begins to appear translucent, add the dried fruit, broth, wine, salt, and pepper (and olives, if you are using them). Bring to a soft boil, then reduce heat to medium-low to simmer until the sauce has thickened. I boiled mine for at least 20-25 minutes, but it is really a matter of taste. I think it takes much longer than what the original recipe called for (which was 5 minutes) for the flavors to mingle nicely enough.
Spoon rice out onto a large serving plate and arrange the baked tofu (or chicken) slices over it nicely to serve, as seen above. Have the dried fruit compote in a nice serving dish so each person can spoon it over their tofu and rice.
**If you use chicken instead of tofu:
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, oregano, parsley, and thyme evenly over chicken. Add chicken to pan; cook 4-10 minutes on each side or until done. When I made this with chicken, it seemed like it took forever to brown and get done in the middle, but we had very thick pieces. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm. Arrange over a bed of rice and serve in the same way as with the tofu.