By Cat, Nov 2009 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
In case you are not familiar with Moroccan cuisine, a tagine is a stew, typically laced with fragrant spices, fruits and meat. In Morocco, a tagine pot (heavy clay pot with a cone-shaped lid) is set directly over coals, but you can use a saucier or Dutch oven on your stove. You might find a modern tagine pot with a cast iron bottom that can be used on top of the stove. Other alternatives include: a cast iron skillet with lid, a slow cooker, or a large covered casserole dish in a slow oven.
This tagine stew is typically served with couscous (a steamed fine grain pasta), but can also be served with steamed quinoa or rice.
I found this recipe in an insert of our local newspaper, The Daily Inter Lake’s “Spry” insert of October 13, 2009 (1). Check out also their vegetarian Harvest Tagine recipe (2), made with garbanzos.
The list of ingredients for this recipe is fairly long, but the preparation is easy; it just takes time to braise. It uses legs and breasts, but you can also use just thighs or a mix of chicken pieces. If you use breasts, it’s a good idea to brine them first, to help them retain moisture.
This has a bit of heat; if you’re not used to that, cut down on the cayenne.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 2 chicken breast halves, brined
- 2 chicken leg quarters
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp cumin seed
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 large onion, chopped coarsely
- 1 large sweet potato
- 8 – 10 dried figs
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups homemade chicken stock
- juice and zest of one orange
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt, or to taste
- cast iron skillet
- 3-quart saucier, Dutch oven, slow cooker or covered casserole dish
- small bowls
- orange juicer and grater for zest
- Brine chicken breasts for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
- Meanwhile, mince garlic into a small bowl and add spices. Chop onion coarsely; peel sweet potato and cut in 1/2″ – 3/4″ dice. Remove stems from figs, and cut each fig in half.
- Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet. Add chicken and sauté 2 – 4 minutes per side, until browned. Transfer to pot.
- Scatter garlic and spices over chicken. Tuck onion, sweet potato and figs around the chicken pieces.
- Add chicken stock to skillet and heat, scraping to loosen browned bits. Pour over chicken.
- Add orange juice, zest and honey. Cover and cook until very tender over simmering heat (or in a slow oven), at least 3 hours. Or simmer in slow cooker on low for 6 – 7 hours (or on high for 3 – 4 hours).
- When done, if the liquids have not thickened, remove chicken pieces and cook down the liquids a bit.
Assembly or Serving ideas
- Serve with couscous, a very fine-grained pasta, steamed to perfection; or Saffron-Raisin Quinoa if you have problems with gluten. Other alternatives are orzo pasta, steamed rice or bulgur.
- Serve with pita or other flatbread, and a dipping sauce of olive oil and cayenne. Check out my recipe for R’ghayaf: Moroccan Semolina Flatbread.
- The Daily InterLake’s “Spry” insert of October 13, 2009. See also spryliving.com
- Spry’s Harvest Tagine recipe (spryliving.com/recipes/view/37251/harvest-tagine.html)