Chicken Tagine

Hi everyone. It’s been a bit since I posted a recipe. Someone wrote me the other day and asked whether I had a Chicken Tagine recipe. I did (and do), and it reminded me that I have many tasty recipes that didn’t make the final cut into The Heritage Cookbook. So instead of letting them waste away in some random Google Doc, I’ll try my best to post a recipe here and there.

Things are fine. Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. I thought that all this telework and social distancing would give me an opportunity to return to my more prolific days here on the blog, but I’ve found that since I’m sitting in front of a computer so much doing work-related tasks, I haven’t been interested in returning to my computer in the evenings. So perhaps once things eventually normalize I will get back to my old blogging routine, but for now, let’s just enjoy some Chicken Tagine and figure all that other stuff out later.

Chicken Tagine (Gluten-free, Primal, Paleo, Keto)

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy

3 to 4 lbs chicken thighs, drumsticks, and wings, cut crosswise across the bone into 2” chunks
1 tsp salt, more to taste
½ tsp black pepper, more to taste
1 tbsp ghee or butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, grated or finely diced (about ¾ cup grated)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2” ginger, minced (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
2 tsp Harissa
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp thyme
1 pinch saffron
1 cinnamon stick
~1 cup chicken stock
6 dried apricots, cut in half (omit for keto)
¼ Preserved Lemon, minced
pine nuts to garnish
1 small handful cilantro leaves

1. Season the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper, then set aside. Warm the ghee and olive oil in a dutch oven or deep skillet over medium-high heat, then add the chicken; brown until darkened and crisp on each side, about 3 minutes per side, in batches if needed to prevent overcrowding.

2. Remove the chicken and reduce heat to medium; add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes, then stir in the garlic, ginger, Harissa, paprika, turmeric, thyme, saffron, and cinnamon stick. Sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute, then return the chicken and its juices to the pot and add enough chicken stock to cover the chicken ¾ of the way up, about 1 cup. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low; simmer until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.

3. While the chicken simmers, prepare the pine nuts. In a skillet, warm a small splash of olive oil over medium heat, then add the pine nuts and pan-fry until they just start to darken, about 1 minute, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels; this step can be done at any time.

4. Once the chicken is tender, stir in the apricots and continue to simmer until the chicken pulls away from the bone easily, about 10 more minutes. Stir in the preserved lemon, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with cilantro and the toasted pine nuts.

*** If using a clay tagine like the one in the picture above, I recommend you brown the chicken separately in a skillet, then continue from Step #2 in the tagine. They also make cast-iron tagines nowadays, and if you have one of those, you should be able to perform the entire recipe as written.

*** This dish tastes best when you chop the chicken across the bone with a cleaver. This extra step makes the chicken easier to eat, gives the chicken more surface area to marinate, and exposes the bone marrow for extra flavor. If you don’t own a cleaver, they can be found online or at your local international food market, often for less than $10; you don’t need a fancy cleaver, just a sturdy one. When chopping across the bone, be sure to give it a good, confident thunk to minimize bone fragments in your food.

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