I am one of those people that have every possible kitchen gadget, tool and utensil imaginable. One of the few things I have never bought is a tagine. Honestly, I was a little intimidated by the process. A tagine is crazy looking Morrocan cooking vessel with a lid that looks like a upside down ice cream cone. I had always thought that at the top of the lid there was a hole for steam, but it’s actually a holder for your spoon! So when Kim said that her friend Peggy Markel who has a cooking school in Morroco was coming to town, I jumped at my chance to finally buy a tagine and learn from a master. Peggy was just featured in Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth and is an exceptional teacher and now, a good friend too.
Here is Peggy’s recipe for her absolutely delicious chicken tagine with olives and coriander (cilantro). Don’t wait until you have Peggy in your kitchen to make this incredible dish. Peggy conveyed to us in the class that there are no mistakes when combining the ingredients in the tagine, so don’t let that fear keep you from creating this dish. It also lends itself exceptionally to entertaining because you basically put all of the ingredients in and walk away from the stove. Pour some drinks and have some fun while your tagine does the work.
Chicken Tagine with Lemons, Olives and Coriander
1 chicken, separated into drum, thigh, breast, etc.
2 onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic
A bouquet of fresh parsley and cilantro
4 T olive oil
2 t ginger powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of saffron
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup purple olives
Separate the chicken into pieces and coat with spices and 2T of olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut the preserved lemons into quarters, and separate the pulp from the peel. Finely slice the peel and reserve for later use. Chop and add the lemon pulp to the chicken. In a tagine or casserole, heat 2T of oil . Add half of the sliced onions. Put the marinated chicken on top. Add the other half of the onions on top of the chicken. Add salt and pepper and the parsley and coriander bouquet garni.
Add 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 30-40 minutes. Check the chicken periodically with a wooden spatula to make sure it’s not sticking. Simmer until the chicken juices run clear and the meat is moist and tender.
Add the olives 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with lemon peel at the end. Serve piping hot! Tagines available from www.tagines.com.