Monday, April 14, 2008

Morocco Love

Lemon Olive Chicken Tagine

This is a tagine:
"Tagine" also refers to the wonderful aromatic stews one typically makes in it. I do not own such a clay pot, and am not sure how I would use it if I did. Fortunately, you can make tagine the stew about as well in a lidded skillet. I'm not inclined to believe a piece of cookware has any mysterious powers, especially since I saw that the All-Clad company makes a non-stick tagine. I'm sure non-stick tagines are all the rage among housewives in Fez.
Anyway, I made this recipe last night and it is phenomenal. It isn't often that I impress myself, but I can't really take credit since it was incredibly simple to make. The only effort was in acquiring one important ingredient:

Ingredient of the day: Preserved Lemons

We're lucky enough to have a large Iranian population nearby, which meant I knew where to buy lemons preserved in brine. It's fairly easy to make your own, but it takes three weeks, and I was already hungry. Pickling lemons makes them milder and brings out their other subtle flavors. Once you taste them, you might recognize their exotic flavor from certain Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.

Lemon Olive Chicken Tagine
2 lbs chicken thighs
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tsp. garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. black pepper
2-3 preserved lemons, sliced thin
1 cup green olives (not the ones with pimento!)

Rub the chicken with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and pepper and let marinate for at least an hour. Heat the oil and brown the chicken on both sides, then add onions, dry seasonings and broth. Stir well to incorporate flavors, lower heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the slices of preserved lemon and the olives and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the liquid, raise the heat and stir the sauce until it thickens (about 5-10 minutes). Pour the sauce over the chicken in a deep dish. We ate this with some nice Afghani bread, similar to Moroccan bread, but it would also be lovely over rice. I steamed some green veggies with a lemon-caper vinaigrette on the side.
If last night's dinner was any indication, Morocco is a seriously tasty place.


adele said...

My host grandmother in France introduced me to that dish. I should probably get some preserved lemons sometime and try it out myself.

Foodichka said...

It's superfantastic. My roommate flipped for it, too. She's a fan of lemony chicken dishes in all their incarnations.