Famed for its tagines, Moroccan cuisine is a mix of North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences. The tagine is a traditional clay pot with a distinct pyramid shape that allows steam to disperse and cook the contents. It is also the name given to dishes cooked within it. Once the lid goes on, there is no lifting to add ingredients or to give them a stir, so Moroccan chefs place great emphasis on the way ingredients are placed inside the tagine. Poultry is a popular source of protein in Morocco and is usually accompanied by couscous and flavoured with various spices, including chilli, paprika, cumin and saffron.
- ½ bunch coriander, leaves chopped, roots and stems finely chopped
- 4 cm piece ginger, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 chicken breasts, trimmed
- ¼ tsp saffron threads
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced into rings
- 3 large sebago potatoes, thickly sliced
- 3 large carrots, thickly sliced on the diagonal
- 60 g (½ cup) pitted green olives
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 6 hours
Drink match 2011 Serafino Chardonnay, McLaren Vale, SA ($22)
Using a mortar and pestle, grind coriander roots and stems, ginger, garlic, cumin and 1 tsp salt to a fine paste. Add 1 tbsp oil and stir to combine. Transfer to a large bowl. Add chicken and rub all over with paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours to marinate. Remove chicken from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
Soak saffron in 125 ml warm water for 10 minutes, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract as much colour as possible. Place remaining 1 tbsp oil in a large tagine or heavy-based pan. Carefully arrange onion, potatoes, carrots and marinated chicken in tagine, then pour over saffron mixture. Cover with lid and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1½ hours or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Stir in olives and serve scattered with coriander leaves.
Photography Alan Benson