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Moroccan Chicken Tagine
Preparation time: 30 minutes + 6 hours marinating
Cooking time: 3 hours
Combining fruit with meat, poultry, or fish is typical of North African cuisine, and with a spicy marinade, the overall flavour is not too sweet. As with many tagine or casserole dishes, the flavours do improve when made a day ahead.
If you cook this recipe ahead, stop after Step 6 and then reheat thoroughly from Step 7 and the sauce will become syrupy.
- 1 kg (21/4 pounds) chicken thighs, skinned
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
- finely grated zest of 1 large orange
- 125g (3?4 cup) ready-to-eat dried apricots, cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
For the marinade:
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 small red chilli, seeded and chopped finely
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) orange juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
This recipe can also be made with diced leg of lamb, in which case allow another hour for cooking.
- To make the marinade, mix all the marinade ingredients in a large flat dish such as a Le Creuset gratin dish. Add the chicken thighs and turn them in the marinade so they are well coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
- Heat the oil in the tagine base over medium heat on the hob. Add the onion and fry gently until it is just beginning to brown; remove from the pan.
- Drain the chicken, discarding the marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Add the chicken pieces to the tagine and fry until they are evenly brown.
- Return the onion to the tagine with the sugar, wine, and orange zest. Stir well and add a little more salt and pepper.
- Cover with the tagine lid and simmer over very low heat for 1 1⁄2 hours.
- Add the apricots, re-cover, and continue simmering for 11⁄2 hours until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove the lid and boil the sauce for a few minutes until it becomes syrupy. Sprinkle liberally with the chopped coriander and serve with plain steamed couscous, or boiled, plain long-grain rice.
- This recipe can also be made with diced leg of lamb, in which case allow another hour for cooking.
- Since this dish is both spicy and sweet, it is well suited to a slightly sweet German Riesling or Gewürtztraminer. Try a Spatlese level of sweetness for best results.