A taste of Africa: Chicken Tagine
We’ve rarely done african food, but while developing our recipe for Ras El Hanout, we came across this great recipe for a Chicken Tagine. With a few modifications, here’s the final version. It’s extremely aromatic, healthy, and bursting with flavour from the spices. This dish takes it’s name from the Tagine it’s cooked in. The tagine imparts a warm, clay aroma to the dish, which is preferred by many africans who can appreciate the slow cooked and traditional cooking method. Serve with couscous as a main dish.
Serves: 2 as a main
125g green olives
40ml olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ras-el-hanout
0.1g red saffron threads (about 20 threads)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp freshly ground cubeb peppers (you can substitute with black peppercorns)
1 large preserved lemon, peel only, chopped
3 tsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
200g vegetables chopped into 1 inch chunks (carrots, parsnips, potatoes, aubergines, mushrooms all work well)
boiling water to cover the vegetables and chicken in your tagine
1. Add the olives to a small pan of boiling water. Boil for 30 seconds, then remove the olives and wash them under cold running water.
2. Repeat the boiling step two more times more, using fresh water each time. Then set aside for later.
3. Heat the olive oil in a tagine. Make sure to use very low heat to protect your tagine. Tagines cannot withstand high heat.
4. Add the onions, and let them simmer gently. You can serve your dish in the tagine itself, so you can “plate” your food right now as you cook!
5. Add the vegetables, and chicken breasts. Cook for a minute.
6. Add the garlic, Ras El Hanout, Saffron, Ginger, Peppers, Preserved Lemon, coriander, parsley and cooked olives to infuse.
7. Pour in just enough water to cover everything, then bring to a simmer.
8. Cover, and simmer on low heat until cooked, about 1 hour.
Optional 9. If you still have too much liquid, remove into a separate pan to reduce the liquid into a thick sauce much faster, and return the sauce back to your tagine.
10. Serve hot! Tagines are traditionally shared, so keep it in the middle of the table and scoop what you want into your bowl of couscous and eat.
photo: Marco Vangelisti