Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chicken Tagine

The theme on Sunday Evening's get together was Moroccan, so I had to use my tagine.  Tagine is the name of a type of cooking dish and the name of all the dishes that are cooked in it.  I first discovered these years ago in New York and dragged one back on the plane, this was before the stringent luggage rules of today.  Then my husband and I went to Morocco 5 years ago, which renewed my interest again.

Tagines are traditionally made of clay and have a large conical lid. They are used on top of the stove and so to stop the clay from cracking you soak the bottom in water for an hour or so before using.  I think that gas is actually easier on them, my first tagine cracked after a few uses on my electric stove, but I can not remember now if I had read the trick about soaking them. Anyway this one is still going strong after many uses.  You can use a frying pan with a lid, but frankly for some reason cooking in the tagine really does add something.

I often make chicken with preserved lemon tagine, but on Sunday afternoon I did not have any preserved lemons and they take 3 weeks to make, so I had to come up with another idea.

1 chicken cut up or equivelant in pieces
1 onion sliced
1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper both cut in large pieces
1/2 cup of chicken stock or water

1 tablespoon of each of the following

  • dried ginger
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • pepper flakes
a small piece of cinimin stick
3 green cardamon pods crushed
handful of olives

Brown the chicken by cooking skin side down first in a non stick frying pan.  When the chicken is browned on both sides place into the tagine. 

Add the onion to the chicken fat and cook until translucent, add the bell pepper and when they are softened  place the onion an pepper on top of the chicken.

Put all the spices on top of the chicken and add the stock or water and the olives, traditionally these would have been the small sun dried black olives, but all I had was green olives so that was what I added and they tasted fine.

Place the lid on the tagine (or large frying pan) and cook slowly for 45 minutes.

Serve right from the tagine as it really is beautiful, or transfer to a serving dish if you are not lucky enough to have one.  You do not NEED a tagine, but they are a wonderful cooking vessel and definately a talking point when you use one, but I have to admit they are a pig to store.

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