December 27, 2010

Chicken and Vegetable Tagine with Garlic Currant Couscous

I became interested in cooking tagines a few years ago, while making a northern African inspired meal for a belly-dancing event at the Feathered Pipe Ranch. Tagines are braised stews of spiced meats and vegetables found in Morocco. They receive their name from the clay pot they are cooked in, which consists of a wide shallow bottom dish and a conical cover. A close friend gave me a tagine a few years ago, but alas it is in storage so I made do with a Dutch oven. Beet and tangerine salad or arugula and orange salad are bright citrus additions to a tagine.

Larger golden beets will work as well; I would not use red beets, as they will dye the entire dish. Additional carrots, squash or turnips may be used instead of beets. Water could substitute for wine. If you are using a tagine pot, the braising portion of the recipe would happen in the oven after being readied on the range.

Chicken and Vegetable Tagine

1 lb chicken thighs, skinned and boned

1 medium yellow onion, trimmed and chopped

2 medium yukon potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch rounds

10 small golden beets, quartered

1 zucchini, trimmed, halved and sliced into ½ inch segments

½ green pepper, trimmed and finely diced

1 tart apple, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped

½ c white wine

1 c chicken stock

½ c water

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp honey

1 sprig of thyme

¼ c parsley, roughly chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Garlic Currant Couscous

2 c cooked couscous

½ c currants

½ red onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, pressed or chopped

¼ c parsley, finely chopped

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Chicken and Vegetable Tagine

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken and brown both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chicken from Dutch oven, place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

2. Working in separate batches, brown onions, apples, potatoes, carrots and beets in the Dutch oven over medium heat, placing browned vegetables aside with chicken and adding olive oil to Dutch oven as necessary.

3. Next, combine white wine, cinnamon, honey thyme and garlic to the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, return browned chicken and vegetables to the Dutch oven and bring liquid back to a simmer. Once simmering again, add water and chicken stock, stir to combine. Cover Dutch oven, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Add zucchini and green pepper, cover and continue to simmer until tender, about 5 minutes, adding water ¼ c at a time as necessary to maintain cooking liquid.

5. Once all vegetables are tender, add parsley and remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm over garlic currant couscous.

Garlic Currant Couscous

1. Heat olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until onions begin to brown slightly. Add currants and continue sautéing until currants are soft. Turn heat off, add parsley and garlic and sauté off heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Combine sautéed ingredients with cooked couscous in a mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 3-4


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