A Taste of Morocco

April 19, 2013

Chef Jane continues to offer inspiring recipes along our Jet Set Journey, this time sharing a Moroccan Chicken Tagine from her soon to be released cook book, Fresh Happy Tasty: An Adventure in 100 Recipes. The book hits on May 14, but is already available for pre-order. Here’s a sneak peek at the deliciousness you can expect to find within!

Moroccan Chicken Tagine
Makes 3-4 servings

Morocco is an incredible food destination. The food, full of spices and herbs, always feels lively and vibrant. Tagines are a favorite of Diane’s. You can serve this tagine with a simple couscous. I like to top it with some plain yogurt and toasted almonds.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds skinless organic, free-range chicken thighs, cut in half
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 thumb ginger, minced
2 pinches saffron threads
One 15-ounce can chickpeas
2 pinches saffron threads
1/3 cup green olives, pitted and halved
1/2 lemon
Agave nectar
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

Instructions:

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until it’s smoking hot. Add the chicken pieces and give them time to get some good color on each side, about 2 minutes, untouched, per side. Lower the heat very low and wait a minute for the pan to cool a bit, then add the turmeric. Cook for a minute to toast the spice–you’ll know when it’s done toasting because you’ll smell it (see Note).

2. Add the onion and stir for about a minute, then add the garlic, ginger, saffron, and a large pinch of salt. Add the chickpeas, including enough of their own liquid, to cover all the contents plus about an inch. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover partway with a lid, and cook for about 40 minutes, or until you can see the chicken has started to become more tender and the whole mixture looks thicker and comes together.

3. Remove the lid and give the stew a good stir. Simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it looks as though the pot is too dry, you can add a bit of water.

4. Add the olives and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to rest. Add salt, lemon juice, and agave to taste, so that it’s right for you. Finish with the cilantro and parsley and serve.

Note: Toasting a spice really brings out its flavor, and this recipe is a great use of the technique. Just take care not to burn the spices or all of the flavor will be lost. When you’re toasting spices, your nose will be the best way to tell when they’re done. It’s as if they suddenly burst with aroma. It sounds ridiculous, but I promise that you’ll understand when you try it.

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