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Moroccan Chicken Tagine December 30, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Chicken, Entree, Recipe.
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4 lbs. various chicken pieces, bone-in
1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
(or substitute 2 cans chickpeas)
3 cups couscous
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. paprika
small pinch of saffron threads
2 onions, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water
24 pitted Kalamata olives
2 preserved lemons*, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt
black pepper

Time to prepare: 3 hours + overnight prep.

Difficulty: 4/10

Serves: 6-8

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1. Drain the chickpeas and rinse under cold water. Boil chickpeas vigorously in fresh water, about 10 minutes. Rinse again under cold water. Bring to a boil again in fresh water, and simmer, covered, for 90 minutes. Remove from heat and salt lightly. (You can skip this entire step if you use canned chickpeas, though the texture of homemade is preferable.)

2. In a large bowl, combine half of the olive oil with the sugar, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, paprika, and saffron. Add a teaspoon of salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Toss the chicken parts in spice mixture and set aside for 20 minutes.

3. Heat remaining olive oil in a large pan. Fry chicken parts in batches until well browned. Set aside.

4. Add the onions to the pan and stir constantly until golden. Stir in garlic, tomatoes, and one cup water, scraping the bottom of the pan to release browned bits.

5. Combine chicken, onions, garlic, and tomatoes in a large casserole. Add enough water to just cover, then bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour.

6. Drain the chickpeas and add to chicken with about 1 cup of water. Stir in raisins and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the olives and preserved lemons and simmer for 30 more minutes. Stir in cilantro, remove from heat, and serve over couscous.

*Preserved lemons: I never make these the real way, which takes weeks. Instead, prepare a bowl of heavily salted water. The water should be as salty as sea water, of perhaps even more. Add 1/2 tsp. sugar per lemon. Slice lemons in thin wheels and let soak for 24 hours.

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