This Moroccan recipe for chicken tagine is wonderful. Serve it with couscous and harissa. Like curries, it is even better on the second day.
Although it takes a little while to prepare, all that fades when you bring the tagine to the table, lift off the conical lid and watch as your family and friends take a deep, satisfied breath.
- 1 small chicken (1–1.2 kg)
- 2 tomatoes, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
- 2 onions, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
- 2 large potatoes, cut into wedges
- 150 g pitted green olives
- 1 bunch coriander, chopped
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- 1 preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and cut into 6 or 8 wedges
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- ½ preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and finely sliced
- 2 onions, chopped
- ½ small red chilli
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 bay leaves, torn in half
- ½ tsp saffron threads, soaked in a little water
- 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
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.
Standing time 30 minutes
Marinating time 2 hours
Combine the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until finely chopped and thoroughly combined. Leave for 30 minutes before using (or you can make this up to 7 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator).
Wash and dry the chicken. Cut out the backbone and trim off the wing tips and any excess fat. Chop into pieces. Place in a bowl and rub with half of the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight.
Combine the chopped tomato and onion with a little more marinade and spread over the base of a tajine (this will prevent the chicken from burning on the base). Arrange the chicken pieces in the centre of the tajine. Coat the potato wedges in a little more marinade and arrange around the chicken. Top with the sliced onion, then the sliced tomato, and push the olives into the gaps. Combine the remaining marinade with the coriander and water and pour over the top. Decorate with preserved lemon wedges.
Cover the tajine with the lid and cook over a very low heat on the stove for 45 minutes. Don’t stir or lift the lid during cooking.
Take the tajine to the table and serve with couscous and harissa.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Alice Storey and Georgina Larby. Creative concept by Belinda So.
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