Monday Meal: Moroccan Chicken Tagine | Buzz Blog
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Monday Meal: Moroccan Chicken Tagine

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A couple of years ago, Faith bought me a tagine for my birthday. A tagine (also spelled tajine) is a earthenware pot with a cone or dome-shaped cover, a cooking vessel found all over North Africa. What am I supposed to do with this? I wondered. ---

Well, since receiving my tagine, I've tried numerous recipes out in it and this is by far my favorite: a mishmash of various different tagine recipes that I call simply Moroccan Chicken Tagine. 

Ingredients:

1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into pieces

1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 medium red onion, halved and cut into slices

4 minced garlic cloves

5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley (some recipes call for cilantro, but I don't like it) tied into a bundle with kitchen string

1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth

2 tbsp. honey

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup dried apricots (Turkish are best, if you can find them) sliced into slivers

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

Technique:

Begin by roasting the almonds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until they turn slightly brown. Be careful that you don't burn them. Set aside for use later.

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In a large bowl, whisk together the ground cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, 1 tsp. salt and 2 tbsp. olive oil until well blended.

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Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat well.

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In a tagine or large skillet, heat the butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil over moderate heat until hot. Brown half of the chicken in the oil, skin side down at first, turning over once, about 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and cook the remaining chicken the same way, adding any spice mixture left in the bowl. Transfer this chicken to the plate when browned.

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Add the red onion to the tagine or skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until soft -- about 6-8 minutes.

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Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.

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Then, add the parsley, 1/2 cup of water, the chicken and any leftover juices from the plate.

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Cover the tagine or skillet, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

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While the chicken is cooking (you can also do this ahead of time), place the sliced apricots, honey, 1 cup of water, and cinnamon stick into a small, heavy saucepan.

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Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to a glaze. If the mixture gets too dry, just add a little water. Remove the cinnamon stick.

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About 10 minutes before the chicken is finished cooking, remove and discard the parsley/cilantro and add the apricot mixture to the tagine or skillet, along with the garbanzos.

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Stir to mix well, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes, covered.

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Serve the chicken sprinkled with almonds on top. I like to serve the chicken with couscous and/or toasted pita or flatbread.

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Please do try this recipe. It's pretty spectacular, if I do say so myself!