Chicken Tagine (serves 4)

A tagine is a traditional Moroccan dish – stew like in appearance. It can be made with chicken, lamb, fish or be completely vegetarian. Serve it with couscous, quinoa or rice to sop up the juices. My version of a tagine contains fruit – dried apricots – which provide the sweetness, green olives – provide saltiness, ras el hanout – a gentle spiciness, a little harissa paste adds a tiny bite, chickpeas are the vegetable and lemon juice added at the end works to heighten the flavors. It makes a lovely, rather different entree, and is not often found in restaurants, at least where I live, so worth giving it a try (and you don’t need an actual tagine pot to cook it in).

2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of chicken breasts – cut into bite size pieces
1 good size but not enormous onion – diced
2 large garlic cloves – grated
1 lemon – zest and juice
A 2 inch piece of ginger – grated
1 tbsp. mild harissa paste
2 tsp. ras el hanout
2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 can of chickpeas – rinsed and drained
1/2 cup of dried apricots – cut into quarters
1/2 cup pitted green olives – cut in half
Cilantro for garnish – finely chopped

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet on high heat so that the chicken will sear to a nice brown. Tip in the chicken and cook until browned on the sides. Remove chicken from pan using a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
Pour the other tbsp. of oil into the skillet and, when sizzling, add the onion. Let soften and brown before adding the garlic. Cook for a another couple of minutes.
Tip in the lemon zest, ginger, ras el hanout and harissa paste. Stir and cook for a few minutes – you will begin to smell them.
Then come the rest of the ingredients, followed by the chicken.
Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, pour in the lemon juice and stir.
Sprinkle with cilantro.
Serve immediately.


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