This is a recipe that will take a bit of time and attention (unfortunately you can’t leave it cooking unattended all afternoon), but it’s one of the tastiest meals I’ve had this year, and you can easily make multiple portions. I was lucky enough to have homemade chicken stock to hand, which may have made the difference so if you can use homemade stock, then definitely do.
I’ve called this a tagine, but to be honest if I had eaten it without knowing it was called a tagine, I don’t think I would have described it as one. I served it with some quinoa with some spring onion and coriander mixed in for flavour, but it would go with anything really – couscous, cauliflower rice, sweet potato mash, or just greens if that’s your preference!
I found the recipe on thekitchenfaerie but as I can never have enough spices (and following a recent attempt with a different tagine recipe that ended up being the blandest tomato based sauce I’ve had in a while) I doubled the amount of spices suggested. Definitely tinker with it when you’re adding the spices and seasoning to make sure you’ve got the flavour how you want it. And while I’m one to believe the more time you spend on a dish, (generally) the better it will be, I did merge some of the last steps in the recipe as the evening rushed by. I was more than happy with it and probably prefer it all mixed in rather than having a separate syrupy dressing on top which is what the recipe seemed to be suggesting.
There is some prep to do on this before you even get started cooking, but I quite like that – a bit of process before hand makes you realise how ‘pan ready’ most food you buy from supermarkets is these days. I would always recommend getting good meat from a local butchers if you can – however I must admit the chicken I used came from a supermarket and this meal was still amazingly delicious. I was worried the chicken would be overcooked and dry, but it was lovely and moist and falling apart perfectly. In fact, when heating it up for a second meal it looked so good in the pan I had to take a photo!
So anyway, enough chitchat, here’s the wonder that is this dish:
- As much chicken as you need – I used five thighs and four breasts, giving two of us two(ish) pieces of meat per portion
- 1 lemon
- oil to cook with – I used coconut
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 onion
- About 1L chicken stock
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- pinch of saffron threads
- 2 handfuls fresh coriander
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- 7 dried apricots
- 2 tbsp honey
- small handful almonds
- 6 olives, pitted
What to do:
- Clear your schedule for the day. (Joking! Kind of. But definitely have a read through to work out your timings around when you want to eat.)
- Sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and refrigerate for at least half an hour. The kitchenfaerie recipe says up to 8 hours.
- Thinly slice your lemon and sprinkle each side of each slice with salt. Stack the slices on a plat and let stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, up to 3 hours.
- Pat the chicken dry with kitchen roll.
- Heat a large casserole pan over a medium high heat and add 1 tbsp of cooking oil. When heated, add as much chicken as you can fit in (without adding layers) cover and cook until golden brown. This should take about 10 minutes, and you may need to do it in batches.
- While it’s cooking, finely chop the onion. Once it’s browned, remove the chicken from then pan while you prepare your spice mix.
- Add the butter, onion, garlic, ginger, ground coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, saffron and a sprinkling of black pepper to the casserole pan. Cook over a medium heat until the onion has softened, then add in the parsley and fresh coriander.
- Move the spice mix to one side and add in the chicken, moving the spices to cover the chicken as much as possible. Then add enough stock to just about cover the chicken – I didn’t precisely measure mine but would guess it was about a litre.
- Add in the apricots and honey, and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a gentle simmer and cover – leave it to cook for about 30 mins.
- Once it’s cooked for 30 mins, finely chop up the lemon (skin and all!) and add to the pot, along with the olives. Stir to combine, then taste and add in anything you think is missing.
- When you’re happy with the taste, cover and continue cooking until the chicken is tender, about 10 – 15 minutes. Don’t forget to prepare any sides as well – this should be about enough time to prepare quinoa, if that’s what you’re having.
- And you’re nearly done – just before serving, roughly crush the almonds (I used a rolling pin) and sprinkle over the meal once plated.Et voila!