Tagines are great in this cold weather. I love the fact that you can use the basis of the recipe and easily change the main ingredients. For example you can replace the chicken with firm white fish or you could use dried apricots or prunes instead of the figs. In our Kitchen Shop we have small tubs of the ras-el-hanout for sale. I’ll demonstrate this recipe on Saturday and Sunday and we’ll have Emile Henry tagines available at a special price.
- 6-8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 4-5 cloves of garlic crushed
- Juice of a lemon
- 1 tin crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsps tomato paste
- 1-2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsps ras-el-hanout
- Pinch of chili flakes
- Pinch of saffron threads soaked in a little boiling water
- A few dried figs
- 1 preserved lemon cut into quarters, all flesh removed and then finely chopped
- Sprig of fresh thyme
- 2-3 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- A handful of olives (optional)
- Finely chopped parsley and/or coriander to garnish
If you have time, the day before, rub the chicken pieces in a little of the ras-el-hanout, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, lemon juice and a little olive oil. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
The next day, heat a little oil in the tagine and brown the chicken pieces. Remove and set aside.
Soften the onion, carrot and celery in the tagine for a few minutes. Next add the ras-el-hanout, crushed garlic, chili, saffron, tomato paste, tin of tomatoes and about a cup of the stock. Simmer for at least 10 minutes. Season a little.
Add the chicken pieces and figs. Cover with the tagine lid and cook on low on the stove top or in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is done. Halfway through the cooking, check and add more stock if necessary.
Just before the chicken is ready, stir in the olives. Check the seasoning remembering the preserved lemon garnish will add more saltiness.
Garnish the chicken tagine with the preserved lemon and parsley or coriander.
Serve with couscous.