The Magic of the Moroccan Tajine
We´ve been planning a rod trip to Morocco for as long as I can remember. Picture staying at a riad with a swimming pool, touring street markets and leaving with kilos of spices, wearing traditional Moroccan mules and sleeping in the dessert. We bought a little booklet and everything but never got to actually take the trip. (Here´s to hoping it will happen next year!) .The closest we´ve gotten to Morocco is owning a chameleon and most recently buying a tajine dish from Sintra´s farmers market. Fast forward a couple of hours and I´m researching all possible tajine dishes on the internet along with the history of the dish.
Funnily enough, André´s Christmas gift encompassed a beautiful edition of One Thousand and One Nights - which happens to also contain the earliest writings about cooking in a tajine. Armed with that knowledge, a recipe for a chicken-apricot and almond tajine and all of my Middle Eastern spices - I embarked on the marvelous journey of cooking my first Moroccan dish. Due to a poorly lit kitchen, I only took some pictures before the whole cooking started and one with the dish ready. You´ll find my adaptation of Daring Gourmet´s tajine recipe below the pictures and you´ll find me in the kitchen, perfecting a vegetarian version of it.
Chicken Apricot Tajine Recipe
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
500g diced chicken breast
3 teaspoons turmeric
3 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup water
3 chicken or vegetable Knorr cubes
1 big can chickpeas
2 tablespoons harissa
2 tablespoons honey
⅓ cup dried chopped apricots
⅓ cup raisins
⅓ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cups diced sweet potatoes or pumpkin
2 cups Harissa couscous
1. Chop the onion and sauté in a deep pan or pot with olive oil for a couple of minutes until it gets a nice colour. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another two minutes. Add the diced chicken, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon, stir to combine, and sauté until the chicken is no longer pink.
2. Add the water, Knorr cubes, chickpeas, harissa, honey, raisins, almonds, and lemon zest (note: I am not a big raisin fan but I do use more apricots and almonds than I noted above so feel free to play around with those ingredients). Stir to combine. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, stir to combine, return to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for another 25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
3. Transfer all of the above to your tajine dish and leave it in the oven on 180 degrees for half an hour to one hour. Ten minutes before taking it out, prepare the couscous as per instructions. (I love the Alfez Harissa couscous and get all of my spices - harissa and baharat included from the same brand).
4. Serve the tajine alongside with the couscous and have a glass or two of wine with Morocco´s most magical dish.