AFTER 4-5 weeks in the fridge, my latest batch of preserved lemons were ready, so Tagine it had to be. If you haven’t come across a Tagine before, it is a traditional earthenware pot used in Morocco.
The base is shaped like a cazuela or casserole dish, and it has a chimney like lid which sits on the base. The chimney is sealed at the top and the moisture from the meat works its way up to the top on the inside and runs back down to the meats and vegetables cooking in the base, which means little moisture needs to be added.
I picked mine up at a local market for just a few euros. You ideally need to soak the pot in hot water before cooking with it. The soaking helps to keep the food moist and stop the vessel from cracking. I have made a few variations of Tagines over the years, but this one I really like. Served with couscous, or rice and crunchy bread it makes a flavourful supper.
Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Prunes and Preserved Lemon
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
- For 2 – 4 Servings
- 4 bone-in chicken thighs and or legs (I used breasts this time)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, very finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, very finely diced
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon harissa, Moroccan chili sauce (I got this in a British health food store)
- 2 – 3 cups chicken stock
- 10 pitted dried apricots, cut in half
- 6 pitted prunes, cut in quarters (I didn’t have these so used a handful of raisins)
- 1/2 preserved lemon
- 1 teaspoon butter or ghee (butter works fine)
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro – chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint – chopped
- Place washed and dried chicken into a bowl and combine with harissa (or other spicy chili sauce) along with the dry spices. Thoroughly coat the chicken and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 hours.
- Add the olive oil to the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, pulp of the preserved lemon, and sauté until the onion softens and goes translucent.
- Add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides.
- Add the prunes or raisins and apricots and simmer a couple of minutes.
- Add the chicken stock. until the chicken is 3/4 covered by liquid. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the butter or ghee, cilantro and parsley (reserving some for garnishing). Turn the chicken occasionally, and add a little water if the liquid reduces below covering 1/2 of the chicken.
- Continue to cook for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat, add the lemon peel.
- Continue to cook for another 15 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Serve with crusty bread or with rice or couscous and garnish with more chopped cilantro and parsley
NB – I didn’t add any salt. As the preserved lemons are preserved in salt, even though I rinse them before using, the finished dish for me, is fine as it is.