Chicken Tajine with prunes and almonds #SundaySupper
The Moroccan national dish is the tajine, a lamb or poultry stew. Other common ingredients may include almonds, hard-boiled eggs, prunes, lemons, tomatoes, and other vegetables. The tajine, like other Moroccan dishes, is known for its distinctive flavoring, which comes from spices including saffron, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and ground red pepper. A favorite chicken dish is chicken tagine with preserved lemons and green olives, other popular versions include beef with almonds and quinces, lamb with apricots, and of course chicken with almonds and prunes.
The tajine is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. The traditional tajine pot is made of pottery, which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides and a large cone- or dome-shaped cover that sits on the base during cooking. The cover is designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. Tajines can also be cooked in a conventional oven or on a stove top.
Tajine is traditionally cooked over hot charcoal leaving an adequate space between the coals and the tajine pot to avoid having the temperature rise too fast. Large bricks of charcoal are purchased specifically for their ability to stay hot for hours. Smaller pieces of charcoal are reserved for cooking brochettes (barbecue) and other grilled meats.
In my house this stew is is regular at our table, my own favorite is this one I am preparing today, my husband favorite is kafta tajine with eggs.
- 4 chicken thighs
- 4 chicken legs
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ½ teaspoon powdered saffron (optional)
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 cup dried prunes
- 1 cup Fried almonds almonds
- ¼ toasted sesame seeds
- Cut the chicken into cubes season with all the spices, add the chopped onion and the oil. Combine well and let it marinate for 20 minutes.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the sugar, let it bubble up and get brown and then throw in the chicken, and sear it well on all sides until it gets golden dark brown on all sides. Add water along with the marinade juices enough to cover the chicken. Let it simmer until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, put the prunes in a small bowl, cover with warm water let them stand for 10 minutes. Add the prunes and let that simmer for 5 minutes.
- In a small frying pan full with hot vegetable oil fry the almonds until they turn lightly brown and then take them out quickly (cause hey continue to cook and if they burn, they will be bitter) and put them on paper towels to remove any excess grease. Meanwhile in a clean small frying pan toast some white sesame seeds for 1 minute.
- Arrange the meat and the prunes on a serving platter, pour the sauce over the meat and prunes. Garnish the tajine with the almonds and the sesame seeds.
- Serve with steamed couscous.
- Serves 6 to 8.
In Morocco tajines are usually eaten with bread, when I found some puffy pita bread (next closest thing to Moroccan bread) I also serve it with bread, but most of the times, I steam some couscous and serve them together.
This week, our Sunday Supper taste makers have put on their thinking caps to come up with many ways to honor Mom with gifts from the kitchen. We will go heavy on festively fruity drinks and all manner of desserts if that tells you anything. Of course, we do know the biggest gift of all, besides our devotion, is making sure the dishes are done and the kitchen is clean.
Camilla Mann of Culinary Adventures with Camillla will lead Sunday’s weekly chat. Here is a preview of the recipes to come: