Exotic Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds

Exotic Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds

Exotic Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds

 

If you read my post from yesterday, you heard me waxing rhapsodic about the chicken tagine I had eaten at NAHA for lunch a few weeks ago.

I loved it so much, in fact, that I felt compelled to make it when I got home. Thus, I whipped out my bulging, accordion-pleated recipe file that’s being held together with masking tape and a prayer, and searched and searched for the delicious version I had made in the past. But I came up empty-handed. Then I got involved in one hundred other things from washing dishes to hanging out at Spencer’s saxophone lessons that I completely forgot about the dish.

A while later, I happened upon the photos of the chicken on my pc and started to drool all over again. Not to be deterred this time, I googled various recipes until I came upon a winner from Gourmet Magazine.

I post a lot of quick and easy recipes. This, is not one of them. It’s not that it’s difficult, it just calls for a boatload of ingredients, and time, precious time. To make things even more complex, I added the dates, carrots, cayenne, cumin, and paprika in part to more closely resemble the dish I had eaten at NAHA, but also because many of those were the recommended additions from the online recipe reviewers. When you see a common suggested modifications in reviewer comments, it’s best to heed them. More often than not, they’re taste-tested golden nuggets.

I made this tagine version other night, and absolutely loved it! We’re cutting way back on carbs here, so we ate it as is, but serving it with couscous, rice, or bulgur would be fantastic! Between the tenderness of the chicken, the warmth of the spice mix, and the addition of fruit and nuts, it takes me right back to an arbor-covered cafe in Morocco.

Or, would, that is, I’m absolutely certain of it, had I ever been to the country.

Give it a whirl! Join me on my unapologetically-fabricated journey to exotic lands!

 

Recipe courtesy of: Gourmet Magazine – modified

 

Servings: 4

Active time: 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil

1 (3-lb) chicken, cut into 6 pieces, wings and backbone discarded (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 medium red onion, halved, then sliced 1/4 inch thick

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

5 fresh cilantro sprigs

5 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons mild honey

1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick (I used 1 t ground cinnamon only because I didn’t have a cinnamon stick on hand.)

1 cup baby carrots

1/2 cup Medjool dates –  sliced

1/2 cup dried apricots, separated into halves

1/3 cup whole blanched almonds

 

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds: Ingredients

 

Directions:

Stir together ground cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat well.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds: Spice-rubbed chicken ready for frying

 

Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in base of tagine (or in skillet), uncovered, over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then brown half of chicken, skin sides down, turning over once, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Brown remaining chicken in same manner, adding any spice mixture left in bowl.

Side note: This is a tagine.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds: Fancy-schmancy pot with a holey hat

 

The vessel below is a pot.

The pot worked just swell. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have an exotic blue pot with a holey hat. Neither do I.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds: Oh, if you could just smell what I'm smelling!

 

Add onion, carrots, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to tagine and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds: Red onion, garlic and carrots getting toasty

 

Tie cilantro and parsley into a bundle with kitchen string and add to tagine along with 1/2 cup water, chicken, and any juices accumulated on plate. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds: Stewing time!

 

While chicken cooks, bring honey, remaining cup water, cinnamon stick, and apricots to a boil in a 1 to 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until apricots are very tender (add more water if necessary). Once apricots are tender, simmer until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 10 to 15 minutes.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds: Making the sweet and savory sauce

 

While apricots cook, heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small skillet over moderate heat and cook almonds, stirring occasionally, until just golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds: Frying the all-important "crunch" element of the dish

IMG_1662

 

Ten minutes before chicken is done, add apricot mixture and sliced dates to tagine. Discard herbs and cinnamon stick, then serve chicken sprinkled with almonds on top.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds: Oh my! The blend of flavors and textures is out of this world!

 

And here’s the printable version:

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds

Serves 4
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total time 2 hours
From magazine Gourmet Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus 1/4 cup for cooking almonds)
  • 3lb chicken (cut into 6 pieces, wings and backbone discarded)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 red onion (halved, then sliced 1/4 inch thick)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 5 fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 1 1/2 cup water (I used chicken stock for more flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 " cinnamon stick (I used ground cinnamon)
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup Medjool dates (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots (separated into halves)
  • 1/3 cup whole blanched almonds

Directions

Step 1
Stir together ground cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat well.
Step 2
Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in base of tagine (or in large skillet), uncovered, over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then brown half of chicken, skin sides down, turning over once, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Brown remaining chicken in same manner, adding any spice mixture left in bowl.
Step 3
Add onion, carrots, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to tagine and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.
Step 4
Tie cilantro and parsley into a bundle with kitchen string and add to tagine along with 1/2 cup water, chicken, and any juices accumulated on plate. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.
Step 5
While chicken cooks, bring honey, remaining cup water, cinnamon stick, and apricots to a boil in a 1- to 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until apricots are very tender (add more water if necessary). Once apricots are tender, simmer until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 6
While apricots cook, heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small skillet over moderate heat and cook almonds, stirring occasionally, until just golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Step 7
Ten minutes before chicken is done, add apricot mixture and sliced dates to tagine. Discard herbs and cinnamon stick, then serve chicken sprinkled with almonds on top.

Full of flavors and textures! Completely yummy!

 

Written by Becky


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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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