A tagine is a clay cooking vessel used in North Africa to braise stews. It also refers to the stew itself. The vessel consists of a flat dish with a removable conical top. This designs facilitates the collection of moisture so that it falls back on the stew to braise tougher cuts of meat. The same effect can be had using an ordinary Dutch oven.
Often this is made with preserved lemon, but here I’ve substituted by combining lemon peel with garlic. I do have a recipe for preserved lemon found here. Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients, most of them are spices. The inspiration for this recipe was found on “America’s Test Kitchen.”
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
1 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 slices lemon peel (2×3/4 inches approximately)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced into half moons (3 cups)
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon honey
2 carrots, peeled and cut intp. 1/2-inch rounds
1 cup green olives (use Moroccan if you can get them otherwise Greek are fine
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Combine spices in a small bowl and set aside. On your cutting board, mince one of the strips of lemon zest, add 1 teaspoon minced garlic and scrape and chop them together to form a paste; set aside.
Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven, over medium high heat, brown chicken on all sides until a deep golden color, about 10 minutes; remove and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the Dutch oven; add onion and the remaining 2 strips of lemon zest; cook, stirring occasionally until onions begin to brown at the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes (add a tablespoon of water if the bottom of the pan gets too dark and looks like it will burn).
Add remaining 4 teaspoons minced garlic, cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute; stir in broth and honey, scraping bottom of pot to loosen the browned bits.
Remove skin from chicken; if using both white and dark meat, add the dark meat first and simmer 5 minutes, over medium heat. Add carrots and breast meat (if using) on top, along with accumulated juices; cover and simmer, over medium low heat, until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a plate or bowl and tent with foil.
To the pot add olives, increase heat to medium high and cook until slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. Return chicken to the pot, add garlic/lemon paste, cilantro, and lemon juice; stir and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed.
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