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Chicken Tagine

By April 20, 2016 ,

My travels have always had an influence on my cooking. What might surprise you is that I had an aversion to tagines for a short while after my trip to Morocco. 

It was nothing to do with having eaten a bad one and being ill, but more to over exposure to tagines during my trip. I spent 3 weeks travelling around the country with a group and everywhere we stopped we had tagine for lunch and then again for dinner for the whole trip. 
Suffice to say, it was a while before I could bring myself to eat one again. 

Though after a few months the memories of the flavours coupled with memories of trips to the spice markets and souks prevailed.

I do like the combinations of spice and sweet in a lot of Moroccan dishes, the sweetness always coming from the addition of either apricots, dates or oranges, but in a very subtle way. It never overpowers but adds a complexity to the dish. 
Similarly for spicing, commonly used spices would be cumin, saffron, coriander, cinnamon and ginger, but they don't dominate the dish. The trick with Morroccan dishes is to get the spicing just right so that all the flavours compliment each other and bring out the best in the dish. 

When cooking this dish you don't have to run out and buy yourself a tagine, a cast iron pot or heavy based casserole with a lid will do just as well.

Chicken Tagine

4 bone in chicken thighs, skin removed
4 apricots finely chopped
2 dates, stone removed and finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
10 strands of saffron soaked in 15ml water
1 onion halved and sliced
2 medium sized potatoes peeled and sliced thickly into half inch pieces
1 medium sized carrot sliced into half inch pieces
1 bay leaf
10ml oil for frying
250ml chicken stock

Fry off the onions in oil on a low heat until soft
Add the cumin, ginger, garlic and cinnamon and cook for a further 5 minutes
Remove the onions, garlic and spices to a plate 
Place the thighs in the pan and quickly brown on a medium heat
Remove the thighs to one side to plate
To cook the tagine I like to layer all the ingredients, starting with the onion, garlic and spices, next the potatoes, sprinkled with the apricots and dates followed by the carrots and placing the chicken thighs on top. 
Next pour in the stock and saffron threads with their water and add the bayleaf.
Cover the pot with a lid and cook in the oven at 140c (fan), 150c (normal) for 1 hour
For those of you cooking this on your BBQ, it will be indirect heat at 140c for 1 hour


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