It’s been a while since I made a tagine, I think last fall to be exact. I’m not sure why I took a hiatus from them since I love making them a lot, not to mention I have yet to find a tagine recipe that didn’t turn out superb. But until last night I had yet to make one in 2013 and so it was long overdue.
The author notes that this tagine “is both fruity and spicy, and the rosemary and ginger give it a delightful aroma.” I only used one red chile pepper (the recipe calls for two) but later on I used the knife I had cut the red chile pepper to cut some cheese and boy could I still taste the extreme spiciness of that one chile on my small piece of cheese! Lesson to all aspiring cooks-always wash your knife or other utensil before using it on another food article especially if a previous food article was a chile pepper.
The recipe recommends serving it with a buttery couscous (this of course being the quintessential Moroccan staple). But this time I went with something different-a quinoa and brown rice medley to be exact since D doesn’t adore couscous like I do. It went well I think.
Spicy Chicken Tagine with apricots, rosemary & ginger
recipe via Tagine-Spicy Stews from Morocco by Ghillie Basan
-2 tablespoons olive oil with a pat of butter
-1 onion, finely chopped
-3 sprigs of rosemary, 1 finely chopped, the other 2 cut in half
-a 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
-2 red chiles, seeded and finely chopped
-1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
-8 chicken thighs (I used chicken breasts as I prefer white meat)
-1/4 cup dried apricots (I used canned apricots as that’s all I had and it tasted good)
-2 tablespoons clear honey
-1 x 14-oz can plum tomatoes with their juice
-sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
-a small bunch of fresh green or purple basil leaves (I omitted these)
Heat the oil and butter in a tagine or heavy-based casserole dish. Stir in the onion, chopped rosemary, ginger, and chiles and saute until the onion begins to soften. Stir in the halved rosemary sprigs and the cinnamon sticks. Add the chicken thighs and brown them on both sides. Toss in the apricots with the honey, then stir in the plum tomatoes with their juice. (Add a little water if necessary, to ensure that there is enough liquid to cover the base of the tagine and submerge the apricots.) Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover with a lid and cook gently for 35-40 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Shred the larger basil leaves and leave the small ones intact. Sprinkle them over the chicken and serve the dish.