Yum Peaceful Cooking: Moroccan Grilled Chicken Sandwich on a Grilled Focaccia

Monday, July 26, 2010

Moroccan Grilled Chicken Sandwich on a Grilled Focaccia

What you're looking at here is a Moroccan Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Onion Marmalade on a Grilled Olive Oil Focaccia brushed with a spicy garlic and cayenne oil. 

I think this is the best sandwich I've ever had in my life! I wish I could say that it's my idea. And that I came up with this incredible recipe all on my own.

But I'm not that good! 

I may have referenced in the past that in certain circles, I am known as the "Chicken Queen". With that said, I saw a magazine simply titled "Chicken". How could I not buy it? It might as well have said...Danielle, this is for you. Buy me!!!

So I did. 

It's a Fine Cooking magazine....packed with chicken recipes. 

I'm in heeeeeeeeeaven!!  

This particular weekend, Sir Sportsalot went out of town. (can you say Girls Weekend?!) And I decided I wanted to make this sandwich from my new "Fine Cooking CHICKEN" magazine. And some bread. On the grill. 

Have I mentioned that I'm not real familiar with grilling? And I've never started a charcoal grill on my own? We have one of those really cool charcoal chimney coal starter thingies. And I thought...cool. Piece of cake. Until I looked at it.

Which end do the coals go in? Which end does the newspaper go in? How many coals do I put in there? Oh lord....what have I gotten into? After much fretting and calling out on Facebook, I got it figured out.

First thing I did was put together a nice Olive Oil bread dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I sauteed a few slices of onions and placed them on top of the focaccia just before its last rise. I turned a roasting pan upside down and placed that on the hot grill, and then put a pastry pan with the bread on the roasting pan. My idea was to keep the bread a little further away from the heat so the bread wouldn't burn on the bottom before it was cooked through. 

But something went weird. I think I left my coals in the "chimney" too long. The bread was taking FORVER to bake. Or maybe I didn't have the little air vent thingy on the grill lid opened the right amount?...I dunno. But the top wasn't browning and it had been like...45 minutes. So I ended up flipping the damn thing just to get the top brown

That seems to do the trick. The onions got a a little crispy but hey...whatever works. I set it aside to cool at room temperature until everything else was ready.

Onion Marmalade (this takes a little while...just warning you)
3 medium yellow onion, sliced into thin half-moons
1 cup sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a 4 quart nonreactive saucepan, combine the onions, vinegar, wine, water, sugar and thyme.

I'm not a "thyme" fan but I decided to go with it this time. I have to say, fresh thyme is sooooo soooooo soooooooo much nicer than the dried stuff. Who'da thunk it?!

Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally until the onions are very soft and the liquid has cooked down to a syrupy consistency. This will take somewhere between 45 minutes to 1 hr 15 mins. 

I was a little worried while this was going on. All I could smell was the vinegar and I was thinking...oh crap...I'm making an onion version of Sauerkraut! (I don't like Sauerkraut.)

What I actually ended up with was a pan of soft onions that were not swimming in syrup that tasted wonderful. I added a small amount of salt and pepper. 

The recipe said that if the acid level is too high that you can add more sugar so that you have a sweet and sour flavor. DELISH!!! 

Allow to cool.

Now...for the 

Moroccan Grilled Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, slightly pounded so the thickness is even. (I butterflied 2 chicken breasts but in hind sight, the original recommendation is probably better).
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all of the spices in a small bowl and then spread it all out on a plate. Lightly rub the chicken breasts with oil and press each breast into the spice mixture to thoroughly coat just one side of the meat. 

Hmmm....either I had too many glasses of Sangria that day and I don't remember, or I completely missed the "lightly rub the chicken with oil" part. Or both. 

Grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire for about 4 minutes on each side, starting with the rub side down first. If you want to get fancy schmancy, place the chicken at a 45-degree angle to the bars on the grill grate and rotate 90 degrees after 2 minutes. Flip and repeat. 

Somewhere along the line, things got a little messy and I ended up with some wandering moroccan rub. 

When the chicken is done, allow to cool on a platter until barely warm. Slice thinly crosswise, holding the knife at a 45-degree angle. 

Now I KNOW that I missed the "oil the chicken" part. Because if I had oiled the chicken as instructed...I think the rub wouldn't look so dry. Well....the flavor was awesome, either way.

Ok...ready to assemble? Oh ya...hold the phone!! Get some lettuce or arugula or some mixture that you like. I think I used butter lettuce? 

Get out a little bowl and pour about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of olive oil in there. Mince a garlic clove and it along with about 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon (I didn't measure) of cayenne pepper to the olive oil. Mix together.

Nooow we can assemble these beauties. 

Slice the focaccia horizontally and brush each slice with the olive oil mixture. Put some lettuce on the bottom slice. Top with some sliced chicken and then a good spoonful of onions 

and another layer of lettuce. Cover with the top piece of focaccia...

And treat yourself to an array of flavors that each stand on their own and then somehow mix together into something wonderful....and then miraculously each one finding itself again before you know it, all taking turns playing patty cake with your taste buds. 

And the grilled bread...I must say was incredible. Totally by accident because there is no way it should've been, after all that time it took to bake. But let me tell you...the smokey flavor it had was worth every worried minute on the grill. 

This is my entry this week into the Two for Tuesday Blog Hop Carnival. Hop on over there and see what's cookin!



  1. Your writing has me LOL, must be the sangria! Onion marmalade is one of my great passions in life. Where would we be without the humble onion? I'd hate to think. This flavor combo sounds sooo good, thank you for sharing the love at Two for Tuesday!

  2. I love the look of this, and it sounds just scrumptious!!

  3. Seriously!? Every single component of this sammie is making my mouth water. Your bread turned out beautiful, the onion marmalade...tongue wag, the chicken- spice.a.lish.ous ;) YUM!!! I wish i had one.... Great post, Dani! Thanks for sharing it w/ Two for Tuesdays this week!!

  4. I have never made bread on the grill, in spite of all the talk about in on the google group. Yours looks great. I love chicken too and I am trying this recipe on my grill as soon as I can. It is beautiful.

  5. O.M.G.!!!!

    That looks AMAZING!!!! All of it!!!

    But I really really really want to try that onion marmalade!

  6. OMGosh that looks amazing!!
    I can almost taste it!

  7. Oh my......thiis making me hungry!

  8. Yep, complicated or NOT, this recipe is going on the to do list because I almost ATE my computer monitor when seeing that picture!~ ;) Thanks so much for sharing the real food love on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! :) Alex@amoderatelife

  9. That is the most beautiful sandwich I have ever seen. It has to be gratifing to make it all from scratch. That is what I am striving for. Great post!

  10. This does look like one seriously delicious sandwich! I'm loving that onion marmalade - seriously drooling over here! Sounds like a fun way to celebrate girls only:)

  11. Mmmm looks amazing! I love it!!!! I would love to try this maybe with steak too!!

  12. Onion marmalade - where have you been all my life?? I can believe this is the best.sandwich.ever! Thanks for linking this to Two for Tuesdays!

  13. Danielle:

    Oh my goodness, this looks so delicious!!!! Your beautiful photos have my mouth watering. :) Can't wait to try this!

    BTW, I noticed that you were still following my old blog, which is now defunct. All of the content has been moved/transferred to the following location, http://cookingwithcorey.blogspot.com, if you'd like to refollow there.

    Thanks so much for sharing all of your great recipes with us. It's truly a pleasure to read your blog. So many good dishes to choose from. :)


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  15. oops commented on wrong one should have been about the purple peas


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