Food and the Fabulous Chicken Tagine on RSG

This Chicken Tagine by Ishay from Food and the Fabulous is a welcome belly warmer after all the Easter Buns, Chocolate treats and other sweet temptations like my first batch of Easter Macarons with White Chocolate and Passion fruit Ganache. I don’t know about you, but I can only eat so many sweet things and then my body goes in food-alert mode. This Chicken Tagine  definitely stilled my cravings for proper food….
I tasted this dish for the first time when Ishay, Jane-Anne and Ilse van der Merwe visited My Easy Cooking to cook with some dried fruit. The first thing I spotted was the beautiful jar of preserved lemons, which Ishay assured me, is dead-easy to make. However, when I looked at Ishay’s recipe, I gasped at the list of ingredients and asked if we could simplify and shorten the list of spices. The answer was short and sweet: “NO!” I am so glad I lost that argument, because the aroma in my kitchen  was something too intoxicating to describe and the taste….simply sublime. If you read the recipe, it may seem too long, but it really is quite simple, brown onions in a pan, brown chicken, add together with everything else and pop in the oven, easy as pie! Here goes.

Chicken Tagine (Adapted for radio, original recipe here)
1 medium onion, sliced
20 ml olive oil, plus extra
500 g free range chicken fillet, cut into cubes 4 cm cubes (or pieces)
1 T ginger and garlic paste
1 large red chili chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 t saffron, soaked in 1/3 cup water
3 t garam masala
4 cardamom pods, bashed
1 t paprika (hot or sweet)
250 ml chicken stock
1 ½ cans  (410 g each) chopped, peeled tomatoes
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 t sugar
120 ml dried apricot halves
2 slices preserved lemon, chopped finely
Honey, to serve
Heat a large saucepan, add oil and fry onions and cinnamon sticks till onions just start to brown. Remove from pan.
Add ginger, garlic and chili to the chicken, coat well, add some oil to the same pan that you have fried the onions  and brown the chicken on all sides. Turn heat up a little if you have to and add a little more oil.
Once browned, sprinkle with a little salt Preheat oven to 180 C.
Place the chicken and  all other ingredients, except apricots and preserved lemons in a cast iron pot or tagine and cook for about 1 hour.

Remove from oven. Add apricots and lemons and bake for further 25 -30 minutes.
The apricots will mellow and add a tangy profile to the dish, the lemons will relax and become aromatic.
I add a generous swirl of honey, mix well and serve over couscous with pomegranate studded yogurt or mint and cucumber salad.
 To listen to Ishay and I doing this recipe tomorrow morning just 
after 9 on RSG, tune in to 100-104FM or listen online here!