So it’s finally here. My month-long wait is finally over. I was finally able to make the tagine. I would’ve posted this a month ago but then I never realized that the lemons take at least 3 weeks to preserve so I had to wait. Anyway, that was over and I decided this morning that the lemons have preserved themselves enough that I can finally make this traditional moroccan dish. I did my best to stay consistent with how the Moroccans prepared this dish. I guess I’m only a clay pot (which the people in Marrakech also called a tagine) away from calling this an authentic Moroccan delight.
The unfamiliarity of the dish and the ingredients made me more thoughtful of how to prepare it. So I tried to stop myself from giving it my own twist and experimenting on measurements and technique because the dish itself is a whole new
experiment experience for me. If I screw this up, it would be a waste of really good poultry and really ridiculously expensive spices. And so I can avoid blaming myself because I tried to be faithful to the methodology of this whole new undertaking. Ok, I lied. I may have tweaked some. The spices are $6 each shaker and I’m not about to spend $40 for something that I can potentially ruin. I bought Garam Masala which is a combination of at least 4 spices from Kevin’s (of closetcooking.com) recipe. I think it’s cardamom, cumin and I couldn’t remember the other two (Cinnamon? Kev?) Anyway, that’s one of my frugal ways of making this dish work (and also forgetting to get saffron…pfft) And choosing broth over stock was also another set back but I still managed to make it work. But I will explain later in the blog why.
Anyway, I am happy with how it came out. I guess it helped that I didn’t know what to expect so I’m not too hard on myself when I’m not able to replicate the original. However, in spite of its lack of familiarity, I knew I nailed it because it just worked- from the first bite to the last morsel. It was a medley of flavor in my mouth (and a medley of funky smell in my tiny apartment-in a good way)
- 8 pieces of chicken
- Garam masala
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 T cooking oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 T grated ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 chicken stock (not broth)
- 1 T honey
- 1 T harissa
- 1 preserved lemon
- 1 C olives
- Chopped parsley
- Mix about a tablespoon of garam masala, paprika, and turmeric in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and rub generously on chicken. This can be done ahead between an hour and infinity (until your chicken expires)
- Heat oil in a large pan or a shallow pot. Brown chicken on all sides. Set aside.
- Saute onion for about three minutes then throw in garlic and ginger. Stir until fragrant.
- Return chicken in pot/pan and add chicken stock. You will want to use stock, NOT broth. Trust me. There’s a difference. If you want a thicker, saucier finish, you want the stock. Simmer for 15-25 minutes, covered.
- Add olives, preserved lemons, honey and harissa and simmer for another 25-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the liquid is reduced to about half.
- Top with chopped parsley. Serve over couscous or steamed rice or with nan.