Tagine is the name for a type of earthenware vessel as well as the stew-like dishes that are cooked in it. They are popular throughout North Africa and differ among locales. This one is my own invention, but the addition of harissa gives it a Tunisian spin. I love the juxtaposition of hot and sweet flavors. It is easy enough to make for a weeknight meal, but with a tiny bit of dressing up, it is also perfect for guests
Tagine of Chicken with Apricots
- Dutch oven required
- 2 tbsp olive oil 30 mL
- 3 lbs bone-in skin-on chicken pieces, cut into serving-size pieces (breasts and large thighs halved) 1.5 kg
- 2 onions, thinly sliced on the vertical
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp minced gingerroot 15 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp sea salt 2 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 piece (2 inches/5 cm long) cinnamon stick
- 1 cup chicken stock 250 mL
- 1 to harissa paste 15 to 2 tbsp 30 mL
- 1 tbsp liquid honey 15 mL
- 12 dried apricots, halved
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 60 mL
- 1⁄4 cup toasted pine nuts 60 mL
- 1. In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken, skin side down, in batches if necessary, and lightly brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate as completed and set aside.
- 2. Add onions to pan and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in stock, harissa to taste, and honey until blended.
- 3. Add apricots and chicken to sauce and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until juices run clear when chicken is pierced (see Tips, left), about 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
- 4. Garnish with cilantro and pine nuts and serve immediately.
- To make this tagine gluten-free, be sure to check the label on your harissa paste. Some contain wheat ingredients as fillers.
- For an impressive presentation, arrange cooked couscous, millet or even quinoa in a ring around the edge of a deep serving platter and fill the center with the chicken mixture. Then garnish with the cilantro and pine nuts.
- Using an instant-read thermometer is the surest way to determine when your chicken is cooked. Inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, it should register 165°F (74°C).
- If you prefer a more concentrated sauce, transfer the finished chicken to a platter and keep warm. Boil the cooking liquid over high heat until reduced, about 4 minutes. Return chicken to sauce before serving.
Judith Finlayson https://judithfinlayson.com/