There’s really something fantastic about this dish and its depth of Moroccan spices without too much heat. The heady scent of cinnamon and cumin with the lemon is filling our home. Taking me back to our holidays in mesmerizing Marrakesh, Jack frost and the icy fog is banished from my thoughts. Tantalising our senses, I dream about Morocco and all the amazing experiences and food flavours, which are so easy to cook.
Tagine is a traditional clay pot used in Morocco for placing in an oven or fire pit. If you don’t have one just use a solid casserole pot with a lid. You usually start off the dish by frying/browning the onions and meat. Once all the ingredients are added it can be placed into the oven to slowly cook, let all the flavours do their magic!
- 1/2 tsp saffron threads
- 300 ml of Chicken stock, warm
- 3 onions finely chopped
- 1 tsp (heaped) dried ginger
- 1 tsp (heaped) sweet paprika
- 1 tsp (heaped) ground cumin
- 1 tsp (heaped) turmeric
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tin of chickpeas
- 1 tsp of ground black pepper
- 6 cloves of crushed garlic
- 6 large carrots cut into batons
- 8 large green olives
- 6 chicken thighs (skin removed) and diced into large chunks
- packet of asparagus
- handful of coriander and parsley finely chopped
- Preserved lemons 6 small or 4 large (you can get them from large supermarkets in the special ingredients aisle). (You can use strands of a lemon rind if you can’t get them)
- Drizzle of Olive oil or spray oil
- large sprinkle of salt to taste
Getting it Cooked !
Heat oven to 180 degrees
Drizzle or spray oil into the tagine or large casserole dish and heat. Boil the kettle and place the saffron and stock cube into a jug, once boiled add the water and stir to dissolve the stock. Place the onion and garlic in the tagine and fry off until brown. Then add the chicken chunks to colour and stir.
Whilst the above is browning, chop the carrots. Once all golden, add the spices and quickly stir all ingredients so the flavours are released without burning. Drain and then add the chickpeas and the chicken stock. Place on top of the chicken the carrot batons, and olives. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Lift out the dish and give it a stir use your own judgement regarding the sauce, if it is looking watery, lift the lid off. Place back into the oven for 15-20 minutes to simmer the sauce down, or to continue to cook with lid on.
The asparagus is obviously not traditional. I’m beefing up the vegetable content for trying to being more healthy. Add them to the dish after the 15 minutes, pop them into the liquour.
The asparagus really only takes 5 minutes to soften. Keep an eye on the pot and ingredients, you need to use your own judgement on its exact finish time, as its difficult to say what liquid content is the meat and vegetables. When serving add the sprinkling of chopped herbs.
I always try to use high animal welfare standard meat, or free range, it does cost more but you can really taste the difference. Obviously we all have our own budgets, but having our own free range chickens, clucking around my garden, its my choice for personal reasons!
I served mine with Couscous and Paprika Potatoes, of course crusty bread and butter dipped in would be divine! !
Hope you enjoy!