Tagine of Chicken

morrocan chicken

Is January really almost over? I can’t believe I haven’t had the chance to share the Tagine of Chicken I made for a dinner party last month. The recipe is by Colin Cowie, a party planner and author of several entertaining books.

The Tagine is a one pot dish and has this great blend of saffron and aromatics and preserved lemons. I liked it because I could do the browning, place in the pot and cook while we were enjoying appetizers and wine.

You cook it in a heavy bottom pan. This dish was traditionally cooked in a glazed tagine but many have the likelihood of lead content so unless you know for sure that yours is lead free, only use the tagine to serve the dish in.

I served this with Couscous with Apricots, Golden Raisins and Almonds. I also used breasts of chicken instead of the whole chicken called out in the recipe.

Tagine of Chicken

2 whole chickens (about 4 pounds each), backs removed, each cut into 8 ­pieces

2 breasts of chicken, bone in, ­halved
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive ­oil
2 tablespoons unsalted ­butter
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ­cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ­ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet ­paprika
1 teaspoon fresh saffron ­threads
Juice of 1 ­lemon
2 garlic cloves, finely ­minced
1/2 cup white ­wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup pitted green or purple olives (if hard, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, or until tender)
2 preserved lemons, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf ­parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ­cilantro

Preheat the oven to 350 ­F.

Season the whole chicken and breasts with the salt and pepper. Place the oil in a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium­-­high heat. Add the chicken in batches (don’t crowd the pan) and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes each batch.

When all the chicken is browned, remove the excess fat from the skillet and return all of the chicken pieces to the skillet. Add the butter, cumin, ginger, paprika, saffron, lemon juice, garlic, white wine, and stock and bring to a boil. Cover the skillet, place in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Add the olives and lemons, basting and turning the chicken. Leave the skillet uncovered, and bake for an additional 10 ­minutes.

Transfer the contents of the skillet to the tagine, sprinkle with parsley and cilantro, and serve immediately with the couscous on the side.

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