I’ve been binging on late-night food TV lately, especially Jamie Oliver. I recently watched an episode of Jamie in Morocco and was inspired to create a tagine. I have never made, let alone eaten a tagine, but I love the idea of slow cooking meats with spices so that everything is tender and fragrant. First I needed a tagine, and as luck would have it, I received a lovely Emile Henry tagine as a Christmas present from my in-laws (thank you!). So I gathered all my spices, bought a chicken and got to work creating my version. I didn’t have some of the ingredients, like preserved lemons, so I’m sure I will continue to tweak the recipe. In end, however, it tasted really amazing.
1 whole chicken cut into pieces (you can also use pre-cut chicken pieces)
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for browning the chicken
1 large onion sliced
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 inch of fresh ginger grated
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
Pinch of saffron & cinnamon
1 tsp salt (add more to taste)
1 whole lemon
1 cup of chicken stock
1 large sweet potato
Preheat oven at 300ºF
Start by cutting up the chicken. I divided mine into wings, legs, thighs, breasts, and back. For a quick video to help you out, click here. Although there is not much meat on the back of the chicken, I cooked it with the rest of the meat to add flavour to the sauce … also, my son loves the “oysters” which are the little tender pieces of meat on the back. If you don’t want to cut up the chicken, just buy about 8 pieces of pre-cut meat from the store. Thighs are really nice with this recipe.
Start by adding 3 tbsp oil to your tagine and heat it on the stove top on medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook for a couple of minutes until they just start to soften. Add in all of the dried herbs and let them cook for 1-2 minutes. They will smell amazing! Scoop the onions, garlic, ginger and spices into a bowl.
Add a couple more tablespoons of oil to the pan and start browning the chicken in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
Once all of the chicken is nicely browned, put everything back into the tagine along with the onion mixture.
Add some salt and mix everything so the chicken is coated with the spices. Now pour in the chicken stock. Cut the lemon into quarters and add it in as well.
Now is the time to have patience, and perhaps a glass of wine ;). Place the lid on the tagine and put it in the oven for 2 hours.
While the chicken is cooking, peel and chop the carrots and sweet potato into nice big chunks. You can also use squash or any other root vegetable that you like.
At the 2 hour mark, open the tagine. Place the chunks of sweet potato and carrots on top of the meat. Put the lid back on and cook for another hour. By adding the vegetables towards the end they won’t disintegrate into the sauce.
Now that your tagine has been in the oven for a total of 3 hours you can remove it. I spooned a lot of the fat off of the top before serving the tagine with plain couscous. The meat was absolutely succulent and the flavours were amazing. I wish I had bought some fresh coriander to put on top, I’m sure that would have been really nice.
I know 3 hours seems like a long time to make a meal, but it really is not a lot of work, just a lot of anticipation.
I can’t wait to make my next tagine!