In that same Moroccan Food Safari episode with the woman making preserved lemons, we saw a man making Chicken Tagine.
We had to wait a few months before we could make this! But finally, our preserved lemons were ready. I followed the recipe from the show.
First step, making the chermoula marinade.
In a food processor, I combined the following: garlic, half of a preserved lemon, onions, chili peppers, sweet paprika, cumin powder, cilantro (leaves and stems! I liked that.), parsley, olive oil, a couple of bay leaves, and finally, some saffron soaked in water.
I used half of it to marinate the chicken pieces. It's best to marinate overnight, of course. But a couple of hours should be all right if you want to eat now-ish.
How to assemble and cook:
Even though we didn't have a tagine, I thought I'd follow what the man did in the show and layer the ingredients like he did.
1) Adding some of the chermoula to chopped tomatoes and chopped onions and placing them on the bottom of the pot. (I had to resort to canned tomatoes because we didn't have tomatoes in the house.)
2) Next, the chicken pieces.
3) I coated the sliced potatoes in some chermoula as well and arranged them around the chicken.
4) Next, some sliced (not chopped) onions and more tomatoes went in, followed by olives.
5) I mixed chopped cilantro with the remaining chermoula and some water and poured the lot over the pot.
6) Finally, some preserved lemon wedges.
The instructions stated that the pot was to cook over very low heat and that we were not to stir or lift the lid during the cooking process. So, since our stove had the "Simmer" option (which is an even lower heat setting than the LOW), we selected that.
After 45 minutes, we checked the pot and the chicken was still raw!
Lesson #1: The cooking time and instructions were probably suited for a tagine, not a regular pot.
Lesson #2: The fancy layering (and its compact conical shape) is best suited for cooking in a tagine.
Lesson #3: Buy a tagine.
We were already quite hungry at this point. So I spread out the items in the pot and gave them room, then heated the mixture until softly boiling then turned the heat to LOW (not SIM).
After that, to stave off the pangs of hunger and avoid possible fragrant wafts coming from the pot, we went downstairs and watched some of our PVR recordings. We may have been playing it too safe in terms of avoiding disappointment with not-quite-cooked chicken, because the pot was probably left on a tad too long. Some of the items in the dish were not that "intact". (Evidence of this in the photos.)
We didn't have couscous in the house, so of course we ate this with white rice and some sauteed kale.
It was spectacular! I mean, if you believe that you need some flavor in your life, then this is the dish for you. It's definitely more than the sum of its parts.
Our favorite component in the dish?
The humble potato.
One bite of potato and you are hit with all the myriad flavors in the dish: savory aromatics and spices, tangy lemons, verdant herbs, briny olives... and even the goodness of chicken.
Our only regret is putting in one lone potato in the dish.
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
from Food Safari
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed and thinly sliced
2 onions, chopped
½ birds eye chilli
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, stems and leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in a little water
1/2 cup olive oil
2 bay leaves, torn in half
Process all ingredients together in a food processor until finely chopped and thoroughly combined. Leave for 30 minutes before using. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to seven days.
1 whole chicken, size 10 or 12
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 large potatoes, cut into wedges
1 onion, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
150g pitted green olives
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
1 cup water
1 preserved lemon, cut into 6 segments.
Wash and dry the chicken and remove backbone, wing tips and any excess fat. Cut into pieces. Rub all over with ½ of the chermoula marinade and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.
Combine the tomato and onion with a little more chermoula and spread into the base of the tajine (this will prevent the chicken from burning on the bottom).Arrange chicken pieces in the centre of the tajine on top of tomato mixture. Coat potato wedges with chermoula and arrange around chicken. Top with onion slices, then tomato slices and olives in between the potato wedges.
Mix chopped coriander with remaining chermoula and water. Pour over mixture. Decorate top with preserved lemon wedges.
Cover tajine with lid and cook on a very low gas heat for 45 minutes. Do not stir or lift the lid during the cooking process.
Serve the Tajine directly to the table and impress your guests with a waft of fragrant steam when it’s time to serve with couscous and harissa.
Moroccan dishes at [eatingclub] vancouver:
Moroccan Lamb Skewers with Figs & Red Onions
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
Food Safari website
Food Safari: Moroccan
Chicken Tagine recipe
[eatingclub] vancouver dishes inspired by Food Safari episodes:
Spanish: Tortilla de Patatas
Thai: Waterfall Beef Salad
Lebanese: Tarator-style Sauce
Thai: Thai Basil Stir-Fry (gka prow)
Lebanese: Lamb Kafta (Turkish: Lamb Kofte)
Moroccan: Preserved Lemons
Moroccan: Chicken Tagine
Sherli Hon Dory is submitting this to Potato Ho-Down, hosted this month by Where's My Damn Answer.
The round-up should appear sometime after December 17.
Our previous Potato Ho-Down dishes:
Duck Fat Potatoes
Potato Cornmeal Foccacia
Potatoes Simmered in Miso
Moroccan Chicken Tagine