Friday, January 12, 2007

Spice of Life - CHICKEN TAGINE

MOROCCAN CHICKEN TAGINE

This recipe is named for the type of ceramic dish in which it is traditionally cooked. Any covered pot will do, preferably one that can go from the stove to the oven.

The following ingredients are produced in Saskatchewan: chicken, canola oil, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, onion, tomatoes, garlic, carrots and chickpeas. If you cannot find the spice seeds, substitute curry powder such as Chatty’s Calcutta Curry (made in Saskatoon).

1 chicken cut into pieces
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 onion chopped
6-8 canned tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 can chickpeas
12 prunes and/or dried apricots
salt and pepper
2 tbsp. almond slivers, toasted (opt.)
preserved lemon rind (opt.) (see below)
black or green olives (opt.)

Grind the spices (coriander, cumin, fenugreek) in a spice grinder.

Heat the oil in an oven-proof pot. Lightly salt the chicken and sauté in the oil. Sprinkle with a bit of the spice blend. When the chicken is nicely browned, add the rest of the ingredients, except the optional items. Add four cups of water and bring to a boil.

Cover the pot and bake in a 325F oven for 2 hours. Check occasionally and add more liquid if necessary. During the last half an hour, stir in the preserved lemon rind and continue baking uncovered. You can also add black or green olives at this point.

Before serving remove the lemon peel. Serve alone or with couscous or rice, sprinkled with the toasted almonds.

PRESERVED LEMONS
6 small lemons, preferably organic
1/4 cup rock salt (un-iodized)
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
6-8 coriander seeds
3-4 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

You’ll need a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.

Cut the lemons in half. Then, cut them ALMOST into quarters, in other words don’t slice all the way through.

Press one section of lemon into the bottom of the jar, releasing the juice. Sprinkle with salt. Press a few more slices on top, sprinkling with salt as you go along. Put the cinnamon, coriander, peppercorns and bay leaf into the jar. Continue pressing in lemon sections, releasing the juice and sprinkling with salt, until all the lemons are in the jar. The lemons should be completely covered with lemon juice. If they are not covered, add some more juice or water. Secure the jar and refrigerate, shaking now and then.

Leave in the jar to marinate one month before using. To use, remove the flesh and wash the peel of salt. Use the peel only.

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