This is one of my favorite tagine recipes, a tangy spiced chicken dish using classic Moroccan ingredients that is divine served with a platter of basmati rice. (For more on tagines check out authors Paula Wolfert and Claudia Roden; they are both authorities on Moroccan cuisine.)
MOROCCAN CHICKEN TAGINE Serves 4-6
1 whole large chicken, cut into 8 pieces
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon saffron
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup green olives, pitted
3 small preserved lemons, pulp removed (you can find them in specialty stores; if you don’t have any substitute 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
Rinse and dry chicken and place onto a clean plate.
For the marinade: In a large bowl, mix three tablespoons olive oil, the coriander, cinnamon, saffron, salt, half the onions, garlic, cumin, ginger, paprika, and turmeric. Mix thoroughly, crush the garlic with your fingers, and add a little water to make a paste.
Roll the chicken pieces into the marinade and leave for 10 to 15 minutes.
To cook, heat the tagine base on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Drop in the chicken and pour excess marinade juices over the top. Add the remaining onions, olives, and chopped preserved lemons. Place the lid on the base, bring to a boil, and immediately reduce to a simmer.
Simmer on low for 50 minutes to 1 hour. (While chicken is cooking excess juices will bubble up and pool around the edges of the tagine; just carefully ladle the juice out into a bowl. After the chicken is cooked transfer the bowl of juices to a saucepan and cook on high, reducing the liquid for about 5 minutes — essentially making a gravy — and serve on top of the chicken.)
Here are a few tagine recipes from MyRecipes:
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Cindy Barr