“Khobz’ – Moroccan Bread ++ Quick & Easy ++ Dough only needs to rise once!

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com (2)

I purchased this beautifully hand-painted blue and white platter in Casablanca.  It’s one of my favorites!

I truly enjoy making different kinds of bread!  It amazes me how something so comforting and delicious comes out of playing around with some flour, salt and sugar etc.  It also amazes me how many different types of bread there are in the world. One of my favorite memories took place in India on New Year’s Eve years ago, where we saw men (fearless men!) slapping Naan onto the sides of a tandoor oven with their bare hands.

And, on a visit to Cairo, we saw women sitting on the ground cooking bread on large, flat stones.  That bread was, like Naan, a flat-bread but with a whole different – and wonderful – taste.

Egyptian Flat Bread - courtesy of Egyptian Food Recipes.com

++  Curious about ‘Breads of the World’ – here’s a great site!    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_breads

Interestingly enough, bread in Malta is called ‘Hobz’ (Ħobż Malti).  Ħobż Malti is dense, heavy bread which makes wonderful sandwiches.  Malta was ruled by Arabs for quite a long time, and the Maltese language contains many words derived from (or exactly the same as) Arabic.  So, it’s not too surprising that the Arabic word for bread is ‘Khobz’ and the Maltese word is Hobz.

When we lived in Malta I wrote a small book about the country’s long and varied history.  And let me tell you, Malta’s history, including rule by the Knights of St. John (better known today as The Knights of Malta) is fascinating!

Maltese Hobz -  courtesy of 'honeyandmustard.wordpress.com

One of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten is called Hobz Biz-zejt.  There are times when The Whole Equals More Than the Sum of It’s Parts and this is sure one of those times!!   Hobz Biz-zejt can be recreated with another type of crusty bread, but it just won’t be quite the same…   Here’s a link if you’d like to make these sandwiches at home.  (I just started following this blog!)

https://honeyandmustard.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/maltese-traditional-hobz-biz-zejt/

I know you’re going to enjoy Khobz.  It’s easy to make.  The recipe makes two loaves.  And – best of all – Khobz only needs one rising.

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INGREDIENTS      Oven at 435F      Bake for 20 minutes     ++ Switch position of baking sheets after first 10 minutes

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2  tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. yeast
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water   ++  Water should feel warmer than your skin.  Try pouring a bit on your wrist to check.  If the water’s too cold – or too hot – the yeast won’t work properly and the bread won’t rise. 
  • olive oil  – – to spread on baking sheets – and – to drizzle on bread both before and after baking

METHOD

Prepare 2 baking sheets by pouring 1/2 tsp. olive oil in the center of each baking sheet.  Spread oil, using fingers, to make a 5″ – 6″ circle .     ++ You can skip the olive oil and use cornmeal…. but, to me, cornmeal doesn’t seem very authentic. Place 4 cups flour, 2  tsp. salt and 2 tsp. sugar in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.

Make a well in the center.   Place 1 Tbs. yeast in the center.  Gently pour 2 Tbs. olive oil and 1 1/4 cups warm water into the well and mix together to dissolve yeast.  Then mix entire contents of bowl until flour mixture has been incorporated.     

++  It may seem, at first, like you’ll never be able to get all the flour incorporated – just work at it a bit and it’ll all come together!   

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead dough for 10 minutes, adding a bit more flour if necessary.  After kneading for 10 minutes dough should be soft and pliable. ++  Here’s an excellent link to learn how to knead bread –   http://bread.wonderhowto.com/how-to/knead-bread-dough-by-hand-355638/ After dough is kneaded, form into a ball.

              Divide dough into halves.         .

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Shape each portion into a smooth, circular mound.

khobz - Moroccan Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com (4)

Place dough onto prepared baking sheets.  Cover with towels.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com

After 10 minutes, flatten dough using the palm your hand to form two – 7″ circles.

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com (3)

Once again, cover dough with towels. Allow dough to rise for an hour – or until dough springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - myyellowfarmhouse.com

After dough has risen, poke here and there with a fork.  Drizzle on a bit of olive oil and spread with your fingers (which is what I do) or use a spoon.

Khobz - Moroccan Bread - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com (4)

++ Raise bottom oven rack up one level     Bake bread at 435F for 20 minutes – – rotating baking sheets halfway through cooking time (at the 10 minute mark). Loaves should be browned and sound hollow when tapped.    ++  Don’t be afraid to take bread out a minute or two early  – oven temperatures can vary widely.

Remove loaves from baking sheets and allow to cool on wire racks.  At this point I like to drizzle on more olive oil and spread it over the crust – because I think it makes most-any bread look better.   Enjoy !!

Khobz - Moroccan White Bread -- www.myyellowfarmhouse.com (3)

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  ‘Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes’ 

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes and Dates - - myyellowfarmhous.com

https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2015/02/03/moroccan-chicken-tangine-with-sweet-potatoes/

And, to complete your meal, how about ‘Couscous with Raisins and Pine Nuts’

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous - myyellowfarmhouse.com

  https://myyellowfarmhouse.com/2014/03/10/moroccan-chicken-couscous-with-raisins-and-slivered-almonds/ 

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes (Does NOT have to be cooked in a tagine!)

Moroccan Chicken and Rice Pilaf - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Moroccan Chicken and Sweet Potatoes -- myyellowfarmhouse.com

Today it snowed almost all day long, so it was a perfect day to prepare a dish which simmers away in the oven, filling your kitchen with the scent of cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger!

I’m not proud to say I actually received my beautiful tagine as a gift LAST Christmas.  (I’ve told you I’m a procrastinator..)  There’s no excuse for waiting so long to ‘try it out’. It’s not as if I don’t see the tangine every day, sitting and waiting patiently on the lower shelf of the buffet in my kitchen…

tangine - kitchen buffet - myyellowfarmhouse.com

Moroccan Chicken Tagine can be be cooked several different ways; 1. In a tangine – cooked in the oven.  2.  In a tangine, cooked on very low heat on top of the stove.  3.  In a covered casserole – cooked in the oven.  4.  In a large saucepan or Dutch Oven – either in the oven (if pan has heatproof handles) or on top of the stove.

Whichever way you chose to cook Moroccan Chicken Tagine, you’re in for a treat.  And, except for frying up the onions and garlic in a skillet, you have a one pot meal with no mess in the kitchen. If you’re lucky enough to have a tagine, you can proudly present your Moroccan meal served right from your tagine.                

++  Tagines, according to my research, range in size from 8″ to 16″.  Actually, mine is only 7″ across at the base but it’s deep, so I was able to able to put in 8 boneless & skinless chicken thighs, plus 2 large cut-up sweet potatoes.

++ Be sure to learn how to use your tagine if you’ve never cooked with one before!  (The terracotta ones need special care.)   ++ Here’s a link to a great website which we could call “All You Ever Wanted to Know About Tangines” !  http://moroccanfood.about.com/od/moroccanfood101/f/How-to-Use-Tagine.htm

Love Moroccan? Here’s another recipe – plus Couscous with Raisins and Sliced Almonds

Moroccan Chicken and Couscous - My Yellow Farmhouse.com

‘Never Fail’ Armenian Rice Pilaf

Moroccan Chicken and Rice Pilaf - - myyellowfarmhouse.com

++ Start tagine in a cold oven

++ Place oven rack at 2nd lowest level. 

INGREDIENTS       Oven at 325 (F)      Cook for 2 hours.   If cooking on top of stove in a saucepan or Dutch Oven, be sure to just ‘simmer’ the tangine.

  • 6 – 8 boneless/skinless chicken THIGHS
  • 2 – 3 medium sweet potatoes – peeled and cut into eighths.   ++  My tangine is small, so I only used 2 medium sweet potatoes.  They turned out soo yummy cooked this way that I plan to try to cram more in next time!! 
  •  2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced      ++  About 2 cups
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped   ++  Warm garlic cloves in microwave for 10 – 15 seconds, which helps remove papery covering on garlic cloves.
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander      ++  I used 1 tsp. minced fresh cilantro, which are the leaves of the same plant.  In fact, coriander comes from the seeds.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates    (You can purchase chopped dates – BIG time saver!)
  • 1 cup HOT chicken broth    ++  Can also use 1 CUP HOT water and one bouillon cube.

METHOD

Arrange boneless/skinless chicken thighs in one layer on bottom of tagine.   ++  I folded the loose bits under, which looks a bit nicer and helps the chicken cook evenly.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine - www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Put the following spices in a small dish or glass and set aside; 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 ground turmeric, 1 tsp. ground coriander (or 1 tsp. minced fresh cilantro), 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. cardamom, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper.

Pour 2 Tbs. olive oil into a large skillet.  Add sliced onions and cook over medium heat until onions begin to brown a bit – between 5 to 6 minutes.

Add minced garlic.  Cook two to three minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Add the spices you’d set aside.  Stir to combine with the onions and garlic.  Cook one more minute, stirring.

Spread contents of skillet over chicken.

Moroccan Chicken Tangine - -  myyellowfarmhouse.com

Make one layer of the peeled and cut-up sweet potatoes.  Sprinkle 1/4 chopped dates over potatoes.  Pour 1 cup HOT broth over all.

Moroccan Chicken  Tangine - -www.myyellowfarmhouse.com

Cover on tagine.  Lower oven rack to second lowest level.  Place covered tagine in COLD oven.  Set temperature to 325F.

Cook for two hours.  ++  Chicken and sweet potatoes will be cooked after 1 1/2 hours but the extra 1/2 hour of cooking time REALLY makes the chicken thighs tender.  Enjoy !!

Moroccan Chicken and Rice Pilaf 2- - myyellowfarmhouse.com