Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds
My son was invited to a friends for dinner the other night and had mentioned that the meal tasted great. When asked what was made he mentioned a Moroccan dish. I enjoy Moroccan food so asked if he’d get the recipe for me to try.
Moroccan cooking uses fresh spices extensively, fruits and vegetables and often foods are slow cooked in a vessel called a Tagine. I don’t have a Tagine, so I used a Dutch Oven which worked well however, Tagine’s will self baste producing a superior dish.
This recipe uses cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and salt for spices among other unusual ingredients and fruit not used in traditional American dishes.
The results were succulent pieces of chicken enrobed with a delicate yet flavorful sauce. I used bone-in chicken with skin for the fullest flavor however, you can substitute boneless, skinless chicken pieces as well. I also served this with tri-colored couscous drizzled with the luscious sauce covering the chicken and a fresh salad.
The dish was wonderful! I hope you’ll enjoy it as well.
Gourmet | May 2006
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 (3-lb) chicken, cut into 6 pieces, wings and backbone discarded (I
used chicken breasts and thighs)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, halved, then sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 fresh cilantro
5 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, separated into halves
1/3 cup whole blanched almonds *
Special equipment: a 10- to 12-inch tagine or heavy skillet; kitchen
Stir together ground cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl or zip lock bag. Add chicken and turn to coat well.
Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in base of tagine (or in skillet), uncovered, over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then brown half of chicken, skin sides down, turning over once, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Brown remaining chicken in same manner, adding any spice mixture left in bowl.
Add onion and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to tagine and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic
Tie cilantro and parsley into a bundle with kitchen string and add to tagine along with 1/2 cup water, chicken, and any juices accumulated
While chicken cooks, bring honey, remaining cup water, cinnamon
While apricots cook, heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small skillet over moderate heat and cook almonds, stirring occasionally, until just
Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Ten minutes before chicken is done, add apricot mixture to tagine. Discard herbs and cinnamon stick, then serve chicken sprinkled with almonds on top.
*Note: This recipe calls for blanched almonds which I totally forgot to do. However I still cooked the almonds and they were delicious. Blanching will remove their skin making them easier to eat in foods.
How to Blanch Almonds
- Place almonds in a pot covered with cold water.
- Bring water to boil.
- Immediately remove from heat and strain almonds.
- Rinse with cold water.
- Allow to dry on paper towels.
- To remove skins, place an almond between thumb and pointer finger, apply pressure on almond with fingers and the skin should come off with easily!
Blanched almonds are very slippery and can go flying when you are trying to remove the skins so use caution when removing them.