I will be teaching a class on a Moroccan dish; chicken Tagine. What a great braised dish this is! There are so many variations out there – some that are sharper in flavor with the addition of tomatoes, some that aren’t braised at all but in fact steamed, and some that call for lamb, veggies or seafood.
First of all, my chicken tagine is made in a wide and shallow saucepan and not in a tagine – because, I don’t have one. Secondly, for this dish, I am going delicate. Green cracked olives are ideal for the dish but I couldn’t find them and went with the Moroccan black instead – they add a quiet depth in flavor. I have used tomatoes in the passed but this interferes with the dish’s classic ingredient ‘preserved lemon’ so I skipped it for this dish. However, tread lightly with the preserved lemon because just enough will leave your dining companions intrigued, but too much and it will smell like a dish gone wrong!
This dish couldn’t be more called for on a cool Fall day with fork tender chicken, caramelized onions and a fragrant saffron sauce. Served up along some buttered couscous, this one will be a keeper.
Recipe For Chicken Tagine
1) Liberally salt and pepper the chicken and leave at room temperature for 1 hour
2) In a sauté pan, heat the clarified butter and brown the chicken skin side down until golden. Remove and set aside
3) Sauté onions until golden. Add the dried spices and cook out for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken along with the stock, herb stems and bay leaves and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Transfer to oven and cook for approx. 45 minutes
5) Once chicken is tender, discard the skin and set aside. Reduce the sauce on the stove top. Add the parsley, cilantro, chickpeas, olives and hydrated dried fruit and preserved lemon. Add the chicken back and warm through
- 4 thighs, skin on and bone-in
- 3 tbsp. clarified butter/ ghee
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely sliced
- 2 Tbsp. white pepper
- 2 tsp. ground ginger (dried)
- ¼ tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. saffron threads
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 quartered piece of preserved lemon, skin only – rinsed
- ¼ cup black olives, Moroccan cured
- 1 tbsp. unsalted cold butter
- 1 ¼ cup of dried fruit such as apricots or figs
- ¼ cup chickpeas, canned
- 1 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 small bundle of cilantro and parsley stems and 2 bay leaves stems tied together with butchers twine