Chicken Tagine With Preserved Lemon

A few years ago I did a French Moroccan cooking class at Black Pearl Epicure which I loved. I picked up some wonderful recipes and good tips. But tonight I tried a new tagine from a cookbook I have been using lots lately – The Great Aussie Family Cookbook.

Around the same time that I did the cooking class I went and bought an Emile Henry tagine. It is beautiful and looks so wonderful in the centre of the dinner table. I browned the chicken in a large frying pan but used the tagine to fry the onions before adding the remaining ingredients into the tagine. Then I just popped the lid on and let it simmer. You can also pop the tagine straight into a low oven.

This recipe is really quite simple and can be made well within the hour. The most time consuming part for me is cutting the chicken up into 8 pieces. The skin is meant to stay on the chicken but I removed as much as I could to avoid some of the fat. All the other tagines I have made involve first making a chermoula. A chermoula is similar to what a curry paste is in Asian cooking. So this recipe doesn’t call for that which saves time. The flavour isn’t as intense which isn’t a bad thing when feeding little children. Having said that, I would be lying if I told you that my kids wolfed this down and begged me for seconds. Didn’t quite happen. I can’t be sure if they were:
a/ just having an off night (tired and grumpy)
b/ still full from eating the cupcake I foolishly let them have at 4:45pm
c/ not into Aussie Moroccon cuisine

Regardless, Joel and I wolfed down dinner and I think Joel is on his 4ths. For now I will label this post under ‘dinner’ rather then ‘family dinner’ and hopefully I can change that in the near future.

chicken tagine with preserved lemon

(from Kim Terakes book ‘The Great Aussie Family Cookbook’)

1 cup plain flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large free-range or organic chicken, backbone removed, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons extra
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 large brown onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup blanched almonds
4 large kipfler potatoes, peeled and halved
2 preserved lemons, pulp discarded, rind chopped
2 tablespoons currants
2 cups homemade chicken stock (or 1 cup stock from a tetra pack, mixed with 1 cup water)
12 green beans, cut into 3 cm lengths (just realised I didn’t do that)
12 black or green pitted olives
1 cup coriander leaves
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
steamed couscous, to serve

Dust the chicken in seasoned flour. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and cook chicken until golden brown. Set aside on a plate with a paper towel.

Heat extra oil in a tagine or large heavy-based saucepan with a lid. Cook onion and garlic until soft without browning. Add the saffron, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, honey, almonds, potato, preserved lemon, currants, stock and chicken pieces. Bring to the boil then cover with a piece of baking paper plus a lid then simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and the paper and add the beans and olives. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. Top with fresh herbs and serve with couscous.

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