Classic Comfort

Café Muse’s McCormick spices up Moroccan-style chicken with apricots, olives, and preserved lemon // Photographs by Joe Vaughn

Chef de cuisine Ricky McCormick is into his second stint at Café Muse, after leaving the Royal Oak restaurant two years ago to explore other opportunities. He joined Rick Halberg at Local Kitchen & Bar as chef de cuisine and was sous-chef for Paul Grosz at The Stand, but says, “I quickly learned that being at Café Muse and working for (proprietors) Greg Reyner and David Smith is where I needed to be.” McCormick started as a line cook and was given the opportunity to cook “what I believed what would fit well for the restaurant. I’d say my style and vision sits well here.” His love for cooking is equaled by his favorite sport. “I play competitive paintball for the team Detroit Action. It’s great to be a part of another team outside the kitchen,” he says.


Chicken Tajine (Serves 4)


8 pieces Otto’s Chicken, skin-on thighs
and/or legs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 large yellow onions, peeled, halved,
and thinly sliced
4 yellow and orange bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 large pinch of saffron
6 cups chicken stock, unsalted if store-bought
2 tablespoons preserved lemons, thinly sliced
(rinsed and use rind only)
½ cup green pitted olives, cut in half
¾ cup Turkish apricots, chopped
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups frozen peas



This dish is best made a day ahead. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in base of tajine (a clay or ceramic cookware) or Dutch oven, uncovered, over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Brown half the chicken, skin side down, turning over once for about 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Brown remaining chicken (add butter if needed) and set aside. Over moderate heat in the same pan, add onions, peppers, and garlic. Sauté for 6-7 minutes, until translucent. Add all spices into pan and cook for a few minutes to give them a nice toast. Add chicken stock, lemons, olives, and apricots. Add the chicken, bring to a simmer, and cover. Cook for about 40 minutes until fork tender, almost falling off the bone. Remove chicken and bay leaf from the pan and set aside. Add remaining butter, parsley, cilantro, and peas. Reduce sauce so it’s thick enough to coat a spoon. Add chicken to the pan. Garnish with leftover lemons, herbs, or olives.


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