Sunday, March 24, 2013

recipe for tagine of chicken

I had some friends over for dinner last week and I wasn't in the mood to turn on the oven--I wanted a meal that cooked itself on the stove with little or no need for supervision.  Then it came to me--a recipe I had written in 2006 when I gave mom a tagine cooker for Christmas.

A tagine is a conical earthenware cook pot common in Northern Africa and revered for the way it locks in moisture in its conical top creating super moist, tender and flavorful foods.  Since mom has the tagine and I don't, I used a 5 quart enamel dutch over (like Le Creuset) with excellent results. Just leave the lid on tight.

Here is my recipe for tagine of chicken with green olives.  I served it with pinenut and golden raisin studded couscous (a 5 minute stovetop dish).

6 garlic gloves, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 chicken drumsticks and 4 chicken thighs, on the bone.
1 8-10oz. can diced tomato
1 TBL tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
spice blend  (see below)
10 oz. approx. jar of pitted green Spanish or Greek olives without pimento
3 TBL chopped Italian parsley
Zest from one lemon
Olive oil

Spice blend:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric  (no substitution)
1/4 tsp cayenne

Remove skin from chicken.  Heat  several tablespoons of oil in dutch oven.  Dust chicken with flour and fry till light brown and set aside.
Add additional oil to the pan and saute the onion and garlic. Add the chicken and the remaining ingredients except the olives, parsley and lemon.
Lower the heat, put the lid on the pan and let simmer for 1 hour.  After an hour, add the olives and parsley, and cook for 15-20 minutes more with the lid slightly ajar, letting the sauce reduce. Taste for seasoning.

On a coupe plate, place a leg and thigh on bed of couscous, spoon sauce and olives around and garnish chicken with lemon zest.  4 servings.