Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chicken Tagine

Before you decide to make this recipe, go straight to the Preserved Lemon recipe below and make that first. Then come back in 3 weeks and then let's make the Chicken Tagine.

I'm patient. I'll wait. can go to your local Middle Eastern market and buy ready-made preserved lemon, or you can buy it online. But, the point is, you need the preserved lemon in order to make this Moroccan dish work!

Now that we have all the ingredients, let's get ready to Tagine!


This recipe may have a lot of ingredients, but most of them are easily found or easily made (like the preserved lemon). And what helps me, and hopefully will help you, is that I am a big believer in mise en place which means, everything in its place. So even before I started making this (or any) recipe I always have all my ingredients washed and dried, cut, chopped, measured, and standing by and ready to go.

Finally, I am lucky I was gifted an authentic Moroccan tagine, so when I present this dish it gets a lot of ooh's and aah's. But if you don't have a tagine, you can cook your couscous and spread it in your favorite large, shallow dish or platter, then top with the chicken and the sauce.

And yes, I know I can cook in my tagine, but I'm a little apprehensive since I have never done it before. Hmm, I think it may be time for me to take a Moroccan cooking class!

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my parents, my brother and his wife, my ex-laws and my co-workers did!
My mise en place. From top left: minced ginger, butter, Manzanilla olives, turmeric and cinnamon, preserved lemon and lemon zest on top, and minced garlic.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chicken base
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 preserved lemon (4 quarters), rinsed, pulp removed, and chopped (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup sliced Manzanilla olives with pimentos, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Couscous, for serving

Pat the chicken dry, and season well with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When pot is hot add chicken and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes per side, 12 minutes total.
Remove chicken and set aside.

Add the onion, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon to the pot and cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add one teaspoon chicken base and add the garlic and lemon zest and stir for a minute. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

Add the browned chicken back into the pot and increase heat. Deglaze with wine, stirring, and allowing it to bubble. Next, add the chicken broth, lemon juice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover and simmer gently for 40-45 minutes, or until chicken is done and cooked through.

To the sauce, add the preserved lemon, olives, parsley, and cilantro and heat for 5 more minutes and serve over couscous.

Preserved Lemon

  • 3 lemons, preferably organic, skin scrubbed well and each cut into quarters
  • 3 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 4 coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon, juiced

In a pint jar make layers of lemon, salt, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and repeat, making sure to press firmly after each layer and making sure to use all the spices. Tuck in the bay leaf and add the lemon juice. Slowly cover with water. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Add more water, if needed, to cover the lemons. Close the jar tightly and store in the fridge for 3 weeks.

To use: Remove lemon from the liquid and rinse. Scrape out the pulp. Slice the lemon peels into thin strips or cut into small dices. 

No comments: