Moroccan stews—typically complex mixtures of spices, fruits, vegetables, and meat—provide ideal opportunities to balance tastes. In this dish, briny olives counter the sweetness of dried fruit and sautéed onions. Sautéeing the spices draws out their essences and makes them more potent.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, halved
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried apricots, halved
1/2 cup pitted dried plums, halved
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 cups hot cooked couscous
How to Make It
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Place chicken on a plate, and keep warm.
Add onion to pan; sauté for 4 minutes or until golden. Add ginger and garlic; sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in turmeric, cumin, fennel seeds, and cinnamon; sauté for 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Return chicken to pan. Add apricots and the next 4 ingredients (through broth); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and rind. Serve over couscous.
Wine note: This dish tantalizes your tongue with its lush fruit textures and the balance between sweet and savory flavors. It needs a wine that is equally rich and complex, as well as one that can really hold up to the sweetness of the dried fruit. A ripe German riesling is an ideal partner, because it mirrors both the fruitiness and the voluptuous textures of the tagine. An utterly gorgeous example is the Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2006 from the Mosel region, about $ —Karen MacNeil