Tajines (or tajins or tagines), a traditional Moroccan dish, are almost embarrassingly easy to make, and incredibly tasty considering the little effort that goes in.
Usually made with lamb, chicken or fish, fruit and spices, these stews are full of nutrients, high in protein and nutrient-rich carbs, low in refined carbs and fat. Here are a couple of tried and tested chicken versions. If you don't have every spice available, you can leave some out or substitute ones you prefer.
Chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemons
* 1 3-5 lb. chicken
* 1 onion
* 2 cloves garlic
* 1/2 tsp turmeric
* 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp black pepper
* a few strands of saffron (optional)
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
* 1/4 cup each minced parsley and cilantro (optional)
* 1.5 c water or chicken stock
* 1 Tbsp lemon juice
* 4 Tbsp olive oil
* 2 Tbsp butter
* 1-2 dozen preserved purple olives
* 1-2 preserved lemons
1. Chop onion and mince garlic, and then mix these with the herbs and spices and some of the oil. Rinse and cut up the chicken. I like to remove the skin and reserve the wings, neck, and back for making stock. Rub chicken pieces well with the spice mixture. It wouldn't hurt to let the chicken marinate a while before cooking.
2. Heat oil and butter in a dutch oven or other heavy pot; add spices and chicken, turning pieces until all sides are golden. Add the lemon juice and the water or stock; bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour.
3. Cut preserved lemons in quarters and add to the tagine along with the olives. Simmer for 10 more minutes. Optionally, separate the solids from the pan juices and reduce the liquid to a thick sauce before serving.
4. Serve with rice or bread. If you were to eat this dish authentically, you wouldn't use any utensils -- you'd use small pieces of bread to help transport the meat and sauce to your mouth.
Chicken Tagine with Honeyed Pears
* 2 fl oz olive oil
* 2 onions, chopped
* 2 ½ lb chicken peices on the bone
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 3 ½ fl oz prepared saffron
* 1 tsp salt
* ½ tsp ground pepper
* 1 bunch coriander leaves tied with string
* 1 tsp ground ginger
* 9 fl oz water
* 5 pears
* 1¾ oz unsalted butter
* 4 tbsps honey
* 2 fl oz orange blossom water
1. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole or tagine plate over a low heat and fry the onions gently until golden.
2. Add the chicken, cinnamon sticks, saffron, salt, pepper, coriander and ginger. Pour in the water, stir and leave to cook, covered , for about 45 minutes.
3. While the chicken cooks, peel, core and quarter the pears. On a low heat melt the butter in a pan, add the honey and pears and cook the pears, turning them gently on each side, until they are caramalised.
4. Ten minutes before the end of cooking add the pears and the orange blossom water to the tagine.
5. Just before serving remove the bunch of coriander and serve hot with couscous.
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