Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Updated: Apr 15


It's so easy to fall into a dinner rut... crazy schedules, zapped energy levels and picky eaters can make creativity in the kitchen a low priority. I've been there! In fact, right before I started my cooking account I was kind of in a food funk. I was making the same dinners over and over again, week after week. While they were hits with my fam (meat sauce again? really?), I was feeling a little under inspired by the dishes coming out of my cocina. Blogging has really encouraged me to "spice things up" (literally) in the kitchen! I find myself remembering successful meals cooked in a bygone era, before long days spent with fussy toddlers and long nights spent with teething babies. I used to prepare this gorgeous Moroccan Chicken Tagine frequently. Really, I don't know why I ever stopped making it?! It's not hard to throw together, and the ingredients (minus a few of the spices) are pretty standard. Boy am I glad that it's back in my repertoire! The recipe I use is a riff on one I found in Saveur a few years back- I've tweaked the spices and thrown in some chickpeas and white wine. The resulting stew is as interesting and elegant as it is delicious. Dig yourself out of that cooking rut with this exotic (and easy) recipe!

prep time: ~ 30 min. (includes marinating) cook time: 1 hr. serves: 6


INGREDIENTS

3 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper, but it's a little spicier)

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp smoked sweet paprika (or regular paprika)

kosher salt

5 tbsp olive oil

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

6 medium shallots, peeled, trimmed and quartered

pinch of saffron threads

1/2 cup white wine

1 whole lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1-1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup cracked (or pitted) green olives

1/2 cup cilantro


FOR SERVING

chopped cilantro leaves, couscous or rice

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the chicken in a large bowl. Combine the garlic, Aleppo pepper, cumin, turmeric, paprika, 1 tbsp kosher salt and 3 tbsp olive oil in a food processor (alternately, combine in a small bowl, grating the garlic into the dry spices and oil). Mix the spice paste into the chicken and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to marinate in the fridge at least 30 minutes, preferably for a few hours. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in a tagine (if you have one) or a Dutch oven set over med/high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, working in batches. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the shallots and sliced lemon to the pan the cook for 7-10 minutes, until they are starting to brown and soften. Sprinkle the saffron over and deglaze the pot with the white wine, scraping the brown bits on the bottom as it simmers. Once the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken back to the pot along with the chickpeas and chicken stock. Give the mixture a stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid and allow the stew to simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove the lid and add the olives and 1/2 cup cilantro in during the last 5 minutes of cooking, leaving the pot uncovered to slightly thicken the sauce. Check for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if desired. Serve over couscous or rice, sprinkled with cilantro.





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