Friday, January 25, 2013

My First Tagine

I have always thought it would be cool to have a tagine, but it seemed such a speciality piece of equipment that I never asked for one as a gift or bought myself one. However, for Christmas, Jeannene decided I should have one. I never spoke of my interest in a tagine to her until the day she, unbeknownst to me, bought it. We were out to dinner that night and I noticed a Moroccan-spiced salad on the menu. I expressed a desire to learn more about Moroccan cooking and mentioned the tagine. Jeannene later told me she'd been flabbergasted. She thought I'd somehow spotted my gift. But it was just one of those weird coincidences. The tagine, from World Market, came with a recipe, so that's the first thing I made. I served it with couscous and salad. Here's my adaptation:

Honey & Cardamom Chicken with Olives & Garbanzos

2 large chicken breasts, with skin and bones & a couple/few thighs
2 tbsp. cumin seeds
7 cardamom pods
2 tbsp. honey
1 1/2" chunk ginger, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper
6 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 lg. red onion, thinly sliced
2 c. chicken stock
1 can garbanzos, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
Handful of pitted green olives

Toast the cumin until it begins to pop. Grind with mortar & pestle to a coarse powder. You could probably use pre-ground cumin, instead. Open the cardamom pods and crush the tiny black seeds inside with the mortar & pestle. Indian groceries are a good, usually less-expensive source for these spices. Mix the two spices together in a small bowl. Add honey, ginger, garlic, pepper flakes, and 4 tbsp. olive oil. Add salt & pepper and rub all over chicken. Marinate a couple hours. Heat oil in skillet & brown chicken on both sides. Put in tagine & pour marinade over top. Scatter with onion, then pour stock over the chicken. Add garbanzos, tomatoes, and olives. Put lid on and bake an hour, on a baking sheet, until chicken is tender and cooked through. Serves 4.

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