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Moroccan Chicken Tajine

A tajine, or tagine is a popular dish from North Africa, that is named after the special earthenware pot in which it is cooked. The traditional tajine pot is formed entirely of a heavy clay, which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that rests inside the base during cooking. The cover is so designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base can be taken to the table for serving.

Moroccan tajines often combine lamb or chicken with a medley of ingredients or seasonings: olives, fruites, dates, nuts, fresh or preserved lemons, honey, with a complexity of spices. Traditional spices that are used to flavour tajines include ground cinnamon, saffron, ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, pepper, as well as the famous spice blend Ras el hanout.

Moroccan  Chicken Tajine

For 6 serving

  • 1 chicken (1, 5 kg)
  • 1-2 preserved lemons or (Lemon confit)
  • 150 g olives (green, black, to taste)
  • 3 onions (sliced)
  • 1/3 tsp saffron
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat parsley
  • 1 cm fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp toasted and ground cumin seeds
  • 200 ml chicken stock (as need)
  • 3-5 sprigs fresh coriander (cilandro)
  • 5 tbsp olive oil (vegetable oil)
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 bay leave, torn in half
  • Salt, ground black pepper
  • Сut the chicken into 6 pieces
  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a tajine (large heavy sauce pan). Place the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until they turn golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a plate and reserve.
  • Add the onions to the tajine and cook, stirring from time to time, until golden brown (6-7 minutes). Add the ginger and garlic and toast for 1 minute more. Add the cumin, paprika, cinnamon and saffron and cook until the mixture turns a deeper colour and gives off a sweet aroma, about 1 minute.
  • Return the chicken to the tajine and add the stock. Adjust seasoning with salt 40-50 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. (Maintain only a small amount of water or stock so the braising liquid will become concentrated.)
  • In the last 15 minutes, add the olives, lemons, and parsley. Simmer the mixture until the olives are tender and the aroma of the lemons is apparent. Serve the tajine immediately or hold it hot for service. Garnish with fresh coriander.