The flavors of North Africa are simply fascinating. I was exposed to them at a very young age as one of my friends growing up had Moroccan roots. Her mom spent hours in the kitchen, cooking amazing concoctions; food was always so comforting. Being a lover of spices, I was fascinated by tagines–small chunks of meat cooked with dried fruits and cardamom pods, cinnamon, nutmeg…
This version cooks fairly quickly and although it has bold flavors, it is not hot. Enjoy!
Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Dates and Apricots
- 1 tbsp paprika
- ½ tbsp turmeric
- ½ tbsp ground ginger
- 5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in 1” cubes
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium brown onions, sliced thinly (against the grain)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ cup organic, low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tsp corn starch
- ½ cup dates
- ½ cup turkish apricots
- 1 tbsp organic raw honey
- 10 cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 2 tbsp cilantro leafs for garnish
- 1 ¾ cups organic low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 2 cups couscous
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
Fresh tomato and preserved lemon salad (make ahead)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup + 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cut into thin strips
- ¼ medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 preserved lemon, pulp removed, rind sliced into strips
- 2 tbsp curly parsley, minced
In a large bowl, whisk paprika, turmeric, and ginger; add cubed chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Marinate, and toss to coat.
Melt butter over medium-high heat in Dutch oven. Sauté onions until translucent; then add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add chicken thighs and brown all over for about 5 minutes.
While chicken cooks, whisk chicken broth with cornstarch and raw honey in a small bowl.
Add dates and apricots to Dutch oven and toss to incorporate. Add chicken broth mixture to pot; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and deglaze the bottom of the pot with wooden spoon. Add cardamom
pods, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg. Stir, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, sauce has thickened up and chicken is cooked all the way through. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve garnished with fresh cilantro and a squirt of fresh lemon.
Bring chicken broth to boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat off and add saffron threads, olive oil, and salt; stir to combine. Allow resting for a few minutes. Add dry couscous to glass bowl; slowly mix in hot broth mixture, cover tightly. Allow hydrating, covered, for at least 10-12 minutes. Fluff with fork prior to serving.
Fresh tomato and preserved lemon salad
In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, coarse sea salt, and pepper until it emulsifies. Add tomatoes, preserved lemons, red onions, and parsley. Toss to coat and set in refrigerator.