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Author Notes: If in need of cheer and comfort with a chickeny stew or soup, why not hop on this magic carpet ride of uplifting flavours? This easy dish never fails to boost my mood, whether during a bleak winter's "gray" or a celebratory occasion. I mixed, matched and tweaked a combination of Moroccan recipes and relied on my nose's happy memories of a romantic holiday to Marrakesh, years ago. There is something magical about the combination of cinnamon, paprika, chicken and almonds. Best of all, it's pretty hands-free since your oven gently simmers the stew for you. Enjoy! —Jamie Pea
Tagine Spice Mix
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika powder
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice powder
Chicken and Vegetable Tagine
- 800 grams chicken thighs, boneless with skin on (or use chicken breasts if you prefer), cut into meaty medium-sized chunks
- 600 grams (3 medium-sized) tomatoes
- 500 grams (1 medium-sized) cauliflower, cut into florets
- 200 grams zucchini, sliced vertically into 6 strips then cut into 5cm-long pieces
- 15 grams (3 large cloves) garlic, peeled and minced
- 15 grams ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 400 grams chicken stock
- 50 grams golden raisins
- 50 grams green olives in brine, each sliced horizontally into three “wheels” (or leave whole if you prefer)
- 2 pieces preserved lemons, diced (if unavailable, can substitute 40g lemon juice and 40g green olive brine from the jar)
- 1 handful fresh coriander (cilantro), to serve
- 1 handful sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- Pre-heat your oven to 180*C, 360*F and set aside a Dutch oven (such as a Le Creuset) or tagine. If you don’t have either, you can also use a medium-sized 100% metal saucepan with a lid.
- Toss the chicken with salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp of the tagine spice mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan until just before it smokes, then add the chicken skin-side-down (if any) to sear, about 2-3 minutes. Stir-fry until just-cooked on all sides then transfer with tongs to your Dutch oven/tagine/saucepan along with all the pan juices. Add the raw cauliflower, carrots and zucchini to the pot and toss it with the chicken.
- Cover the pot of chicken and vegetables with its lid and put the pot on a low rack inside your preheated oven. Set your timer to 20 minutes, then prepare the tomatoes: slice from the tomatoes vertically from the “steam” area downwards, into six wedges, then remove the pulp from the middle of each wedge to get tomato “petals”.
- When 20 minutes is up, carefully open the lid and add the raisins, tomatoes, olives and preserved lemons (or lemon juice & olive juice mixture). Cover the pot and set your timer for a further 20 minutes.
- Voila: your bubbling, beautifully spiced tagine is ready to be topped with coriander and almonds, and served with couscous. This tagine be prepared one day ahead, chilled and and re-heated the following day for dinner party glory.
- My favorite way to make couscous: pour 1 large mug dry couscous into a heat-proof salad bowl, then add 1 large mug of boiling-hot chicken stock (or boiling water). Cover immediately with a plate and let it rest for 3 minutes. Remove the cover, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and use a fork to fluff up and separate the grains (if you used hot water instead of stock, I would also add a hefty pinch of sea salt), then mix in some finely chopped cilantro or parsley.