And now for something completely different, kinda sorta.
I like North African foods, especially Moroccan food. There is a whole lot of flavor with wonderful textures and spice combinations. This dish is a Morrocan tagine. Tagines are essentially a stew, slowly braised, that results in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and flavorful sauce. They are traditionally cooked in a tagine, hence, their name.
A tagine is formed entirely of a heavy clay which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that sits on the base during cooking. The conical cover has a knob-like handle at its top in order to remove it. This shaped top serves two purposes. First, the conical shaped top designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. Second, while simmering you allegedly can take the cover off with your bare hands using the knob so you can check on things, add braising liquid and other stuff but I would rather not try. I’ve been burned once too often and I like my little fingers. 🙂
Baby Lady bought me one for my birthday several years ago. It’s pretty.
She is still rather puzzled because I have yet to use it. Oh well, the problem is I have so many other cooking toys that will do precisely the same thing and we have yet to entertain when we fixed a tagine. Hmmm, someday soon I probably need to use it but if I do it won’t look nearly as pretty. What a dilemma. While I ponder my dilemma, you should really give this dish a try.
- 1 Chicken, about 3 lbs, cut into 8 or 10 pieces
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 large onion, chopped
- 3 -4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 -2 tablespoon good quality olive oil
- 1 inch fresh gingerroot, finely diced
- 6 ounces dried apricots
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (28 ounce/2 cans 14 oz) diced tomatoes
- 2 cans (14 oz cans) chickpeas (I’ve never seen a 28 oz can of chickpeas)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 pint chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 1 pinch saffron
- 4 teaspoons ras el hanout
- 1 teaspoon ground corriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- salt and black pepper to taste
- chopped fresh Cilantro
Heat up olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet (preferably cast iron). Add chicken pieces in batches browning both sides, roughly 5 minutes per side. When chicken has reached a golden brown color, remove and set aside.
When the chicken is done, add chopped onions & garlic to the skillet for 5-10 minutes.
Next, add chicken stock & gradually mix in flour or cornflour until well mixed & not lumpy.
Add honey & tomato paste & mix well.
Add herbs,spices & finely chopped ginger with salt & pepper to taste. Now, add the diced tomatoes & mix well.
Add the chicken pieces & chickpeas & mix well to incorporate. Add the dried apricots and carrots making sure they are covered by juice and everything is well incorporated.
Cook slowly over medium low heat for about 2-3 hours until the liquid reaches its desired thickness. If you need to thicken it up towards the end of the cooking time, add cornflour which has been mixed with a little water to the tagine and mix well.
Serve with freshly chopped Cilantro sprinked on top & either with couscous, rice, fresh flat bread, pitta bread or salads. Enjoy.