CHICKEN TAGINE WITH SWEET POTATOES AND PRUNES

 

There’s snow on the local mountains.    The air is crisp and cold.  This morning our emerald green lawns sparkled with white with frost.    This  was the kind of day that called for a dinner of exotic flavours.  Something to warm the cockles of your heart.    Flavours from the spice  markets of Marrakesh and Morocco.

I have a very large tagine.  The name refers to both the food and the container it is cooked in.  We were living in Amsterdam and shopped regularly at a North African shop in the Albert Kuyp Market.  Their window was filled with tagines in every size and design,  shelves with wonderfully exotic spices,  and a variety of meat my sensitive Canadian eyes had trouble dealing with (whole baby goats, lamb).    I had wanted a tagine for years and here was the mother lode.      The Good Husband  carefully packed my tagine and toted it back to Vancouver.  If you haven’t got a tagine don’t let that stop you from making this delicious recipe.    Simply use a covered casserole.

CHICKEN WITH SWEET POTATOES AND PRUNES  serves 4

8 chicken  thighs  or chicken legs, or a combination  (I like to mix it up)

2 fat garlic cloves crushed

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper and sea salt each

2 cinnamon sticks (using cinnamon sticks allows you to adjust the flavor by simply removing the sticks.  You can’t do that with powdered cinnamon.    If you must use powdered cinnamon be sparring around 1/2 tsp.)

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp chile flakes

2 tsp cumin powder

1 generous tsp sweet paprika

2 tbsp plus a little extra of vegetable oil

Around 2 cups of chicken stock, vegetable stock or water

1 onion cut in half and then sliced in1/4 slices

1 cup dried pitted prunes

2 cups sweet potatoes cut in bit size cubes (not too small  or they’ll cook mushy and disappear)

couscous, to serve

Preheat oven to 350f.

Place all the spices, the salt and pepper, the garlic, and oil in a shallow dish.  Mix well and then add the chicken.  Toss well to coat.  Cover and marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.

Add a good splash of oil to your large skillet and  brown the chicken.    Remove the chicken and set aside.  Add a little more oil if necessary and saute the onions just until translucent.  Don’t let them brown.    Add a little liquid and scrap up the browned bits.   Add the prunes and  sufficient liquid  to just cover.

Remove from the  heat, cover,  and put into the oven.  Bake for about 40-50 minutes.    Add the cubed sweet potatoes, cover, and return to the oven until the potatoes are tender (around 15 –  20 minutes).  If your tagine  seems a big soupy remove  the cover and continue cooking for ten or fifteen minutes longer.

 

Serve with couscous and  plenty of crusty bread.  I like to have lots of flavorful liquid to dunk bread in, but either way it is delicious.

Chef Notes:  You may also cook this on top of the stove.   Bring the liquid to the boil, reduce heat to a lower simmer and cover and cook for about 40 minutes.  Then add the sweet potatoes and cook those until tender.

CHICKEN TAGINE WITH SWEET POTATOES AND PRUNES
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An exotic tasting one pot dish, with the flavours from the spice markets of Marrakesh and Morocco.
Ingredients
  • 8 chicken thighs or chicken legs, or a combination (I like to mix it up)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves crushed
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper and sea salt each
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (using cinnamon sticks allows you to adjust the flavor by simply removing the sticks. You can't do that with powdered cinnamon. If you must use powdered cinnamon be sparring around ½ tsp.)
  • ½ tsp tumeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp chile flakes
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 generous tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp plus a little extra of vegetable oil
  • Around 2 cups of chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • 1 onion cut in half and then sliced in1/4 slices
  • 1 cup dried pitted prunes
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes cut in bit size cubes (not too small or they'll cook mushy and disappear)
  • couscous, to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350f.
  2. Place all the spices, the salt and pepper, the garlic, and oil in a shallow dish. Mix well and then add the chicken. Toss well to coat. Cover and marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
  3. Add a good splash of oil to your large skillet and brown the chicken. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add a little more oil if necessary and saute the onions just until translucent. Don't let them brown. Add a little liquid and scrap up the browned bits. Add the prunes and sufficient liquid to just cover.
  4. Remove from the heat, cover, and put into the oven. Bake for about 40-50 minutes. Add the cubed sweet potatoes, cover, and return to the oven until the potatoes are tender (around 15 - 20 minutes). If your tagine seems a big soupy remove the cover and continue cooking for ten or fifteen minutes longer.
  5. Serve with couscous and plenty of crusty bread. I like to have lots of flavorful liquid to dunk bread in, but either way it is delicious.
Notes
Chef Notes: You may also cook this on top of the stove. Bring the liquid to the boil, reduce heat to a lower simmer and cover and cook for about 40 minutes. Then add the sweet potatoes and cook those until tender.

 

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2 Responses to CHICKEN TAGINE WITH SWEET POTATOES AND PRUNES

  1. Tricia says:

    Virginia, I didn’t know that you previously lived in Amsterdam. When in Morocco, I purchased two tajines – one decorative, and another earthenware. I’d love to make this recipe as the earthenware one’s maiden dish. While I did see Moroccans cooking in their tajines over hot coals, I’m wondering if you put yours directly into the oven? We currently only have an electric stovetop.

    • admin says:

      I have done both. If I use it on top of the stove I am very careful to keep the heat medium … just enough to simmer the mixture. I am concerned that too high of heat might crack our precious tagine. If I am browning the meat I do it in a separate skillet then put in the tagine layering the vegetables etc. on top. I also prop a wooden spoon between the lid and base to allow some of the moisture to escape and intensify the sauce. Enjoy!!

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