A Tempting Tagine

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I have always been a fan of using lots of spices in cooking and can feel really frustrated when a recipe includes lots of different ingredients but doesn’t result in a dish full of the flavour I can smell, and expect to taste. This has happened to me on a few occasions when I have made recipes from books that have actually taken quite a while to prepare. So, this week, I was determined to make spices work for me when trying out the new tagine pot I was given for Christmas.

I had chicken thighs in the fridge so chose them as the main ingredient, made up a spice mix of some of my favourite flavours… cumin, coriander seeds, paprika etc…, chose my vegetables from the selection I already had, and started to put them all together. The result: a flavoursome supper that is not overpoweringly spicy, but has a comforting heat and moreish flavour. Satisfying. I was so pleased with the result that I wanted to get the dish on my blog at the first opportunity, so here we are. I hope you like the recipe as much as I did, let me know if you give it a go!

 

Chicken and tomato tagine (serves 2-3)

I have stated that this recipe serves 2-3, which I know might be a bit vague, but it depends who you are feeding. When I made this, two of us had two chicken thighs each and seconds (we are quite big eaters), but you may only want one piece of chicken. Feel free to add a couple more thighs, a bit more stock and a few more vegetables if you want to feed more, you may also want to be a bit more generous with the spices. As long as there is space in your tagine or casserole dish, I say go for it, you can always have leftovers!

Olive oil

4 chicken thighs

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander seeds

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp turmeric

Salt

Pepper

2 white onions

2 cloves garlic

300ml chicken stock

2/3 medium carrots

1 Red pepper

3 tomatoes

A small bunch of fresh coriander

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Heat the oil in a frying pan or a casserole dish and brown the chicken thighs over a medium heat. They do not need to cook but should be browned all over so turn them at suitable intervals until they are fully sealed.
  2. Meanwhile, finely chop the onions and garlic but keep them separate. In a bowl, mix all of the spices with the salt and pepper and have the mix on hand to add to the pan later. Prepare the stock.
  3. Once the chicken has been browned, remove it from the pan and set aside. Turn down the heat, add the onions to the same pan, and gently fry them until soft and starting to brown.
  4. Whilst the onions are cooking, chop the carrots into rounds and the red pepper into chunks, and prepare the tomatoes. To do this, score a cross at the top and bottom of the skin, put them in a bowl and pour over boiling water from the kettle. Leave for 15-20 seconds before draining and refreshing with cold water. You should then be able to peel the tomatoes and chop them ready for the tagine, discarding the skins.
  5. Add the garlic to the onions and cook for a minute, stirring, before adding the spice mixture and coating the onions in it. Cook for 30 seconds before adding the chicken and coating the thighs in the onion, garlic and spice mixture.
  6. Add the carrots and pepper with the tomatoes and the stock. Turn off the heat and transfer to your tagine, if you are using one. Otherwise, leave it in your casserole dish. Put the lid on whatever pot you are using and move it to the oven. Cook for 40-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the carrots have softened. You may even want to leave it a little longer.
  7. Serve the tagine with couscous and, if you like, a spot of natural yogurt and naan.

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Any kind of couscous will go well with this dish, but I made my buttery almond and coriander couscous (posted on 22nd January 2015), which went a treat!

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Something on the side

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Couscous is often my go-to emergency side dish when I need something quick and simple or haven’t planned what is for dinner. Recently I have been making a little more effort to jazz it up, and this example goes really well with curries, tagines, and other dishes that pack a bit of punch.

Buttery almond and coriander couscous (serves 2-3)

150g couscous

Knob of butter

A small handful of flaked almonds

Small bunch of fresh coriander

Salt and Pepper

  1. Put 2 small knobs of butter (each as big as a penny) in a bowl and add 150g couscous. Pour over 200ml boiling water, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and lightly stir. Cover the bowl with a plate or a lid.
  2. Meanwhile, put another small knob of butter (this time about as big as a ten pence piece) in a small frying pan and melt. Add the flaked almonds and coat in the butter. Cook the almonds until starting to brown, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  3. About 5 minutes after you have covered the couscous, stir in through with a fork, adding a little extra water if necessary. Stir through the almonds and a small handful of roughly chopped coriander leaves.

Enjoy!