December is always a little fraught for me. The looming prospect of financing a Christmas day that is filled with presents and food and fun. It is my favourite time of year but even I sometimes have that stomach churning feeling of doubt that I won’t be able to pull it off. I can safely say I did and am truly hopeful that next year I will do the same and better!
One of my favourite jobs last December was a shoot for National Geographic Food Magazine. A day spent cooking and shooting Tagine’s for their February edition.
I made a Lamb Shank and Prune Tagine, recipe provided by Nargisse Benkabbou her cookbook Casablanca My Morrocon Food is out this May.
I also cooked my recipe for chicken and Preserved Lemon Tagine featured on the lead cover of the article along with my hand lifting the Tagine lid :).
Here are a few pics of the article, better still go and buy the magazine. I leave you with my recipe below.
Chicken and Preserved Lemon Tagine
This is a fairly traditional Chicken Tagine recipe. You can add to it some raisin’s or some sweet dates if you wish, it is pretty flexible. I use saffron to infuse a little smokiness but if you don’t have any use a teaspoon of turmeric. You do not need to own a traditional Tagine to make this. In fact after the 2nd of my clay Tagines split on the hob, I now use a dutch pot. if I have guests over, I decant the stewinto the Tagine for serving. Otherwise the pot just goes on the table.
Serves 4 hungry people (IE my family) or 6 with a selection of sides.
Pinch of saffron (or a teaspoon of Turmeric)
550ml chicken stock
Glug olive oil
six to eight chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
4garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted
1 cinnamon stick
6 small preserved lemons, quartered quartered then cut into thin strips
200g green olives
Small handful fresh flatleaf parsley or coriander, chopped
salt and pepper
Soak the saffron in a jug containing the hot stock for a few minutes. If you are using Tumeric add it to the stock now.
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or deep sided frying pan over a medium/high heat and brown the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper whilst you brown them. You may need to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan or you will end up with steamed chicken. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the onion to the pan. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and spices to the pan and cook, stirring, for a further couple of minutes then add the chicken and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer over a gentle heat, covered, for 45 minutes until the chicken is tender.
Add the lemons and olives and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Season to taste, scatter with the fresh herbs.
I serve this dish with cous cous or rice and some flat breads. Enjoy x