Bawk the Casbah
New and tasty chicken recipes are always welcome, right? I love Moroccan food, and this tagine was just what the doctor ordered on a recent weekday night. The kids liked it all right, but not nearly as much as I did. And I didn't even have the sweet paprika! When I discovered the empty bottle in the spice cupboard, I was too far into prep to change course. Next time I'll be sure to include it, and update if necessary.
Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas and Apricots
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, May/June 2006
1 1/4 t sweet paprika
1/2 t ground cumin
1/4 t cayenne
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground coriander
1/4 t ground cinnamon
3 strips lemon zest (about 3/4" by 2"), plus 3 T juice from 1-2 lemons
5 medium garlic cloves, pressed
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (2 thighs, two drumsticks, 4 breast pieces), fat trimmed (back and wings reserved for future stock-making!)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T olive oil
1 lg onion, halved and cut into 1/4" slices
1 3/4 C homemade chicken broth
1 T honey
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2" coins
1 C dried apricots, halved
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1. Combine spices in small bowl and set aside. Mince 1 strip lemon zest and combine with 1 t minced garlic and mince to paste; set aside (or just use microplane to get equivalent amount of zest to mix with garlic--way easier).
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Brown skin-side down in a single layer until deep golden, about 5 minutes; turn and brown on second side. Transfer to large plate; when cool enough, remove and discard skin. Remove all but 1 T fat from pot.
3. Add onion and remaining lemon zest to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have browned a little but aren't breaking down, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly, until darkened and fragrant, about a minute. Stir in broth and honey, scraping bottom of pot to loosen fond. Add dark meat pieces, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes.
4. Add carrot, apricots and breast pieces (plus juices from plate), arranging breast pieces in a single layer on top of carrots. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until breasts are 160 in middle, 10-15 minutes.
5. Transfer chicken to plate and tent with foil. Add chickpeas to pot, increase heat and simmer until liquid has thickened slightly and carrots are tender, 4-6 minutes. Return chicken to pot and stir in garlic-zest mixture, cilantro, and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately with couscous.
Couscous Pilaf with Raisins and Almonds
an online Cook's Illustrated Extra, contemporaneous with the tagine
4 T unsalted butter
2 C plain couscous (I like Casbah whole wheat couscous best)
3/4 C sliced almonds (I prefer slivered, for more crunch)
1 small onion, chopped fine
3/4 C raisins (I prefer golden)
1 3/4 C homemade chicken broth
2 C water (adjust liquid amounts depending on type of couscous)
1 1/2 t fresh lemon juice
1. Melt 2 T butter in skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add couscous and cook, stirring frequently, until some grains are beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Scrape the grains into a large bowl (have to use a silicone spatula to get all of them) and return pan to heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Scrape into a small bowl.
2. Add remaining 2 T butter to skillet. When melted, add onion, raisins, and 3/4 t salt and cook until onion has softened and is beginning to brown. Add broth and water, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
3. Add boiling liquid/onion/raisins to bowl with toasted couscous and cover bowl with a dish towel. Let sit until the couscous has absorbed the water and is tender, 10 minutes or so. Fluff couscous with a fork, and stir in almonds and lemon juice. Adjust seasonings and serve.