Saturday, November 29, 2014

Apricot & Cilantro Tagine Chicken

Apricot & Cilantro Tagine Chicken
1  Tablespoon  Butter
1  Tablespoon  Olive Oil
1/4  Cup  Finely Chopped Onion
4  Cloves Garlic, crushed
1-3/4  Cups  Water, divided
1/2  Cup  Dried Apricots, roughly chopped
2  Tablespoons  Tomato Paste
1  Tablespoon  Honey
1/2  teaspoon  Salt
1/8  teaspoon  Cayenne Pepper
1/8  teaspoon  Paprika
Black Pepper, to taste
1/3  Cup  roughly chopped Cilantro
1/4  teaspoon  Cumin
1/4  teaspoon  Turmeric
1  Cinnamon Stick
1-2  Tablespoons  Lemon Juice
8 to 10  Chicken Thighs, bone-in, skin on
Curry Rice or Couscous and Naan or Black Bread for serving
In a medium saucepan, melt together the Butter and Olive Oil; sauté the Onion and Garlic until Onion is softened.  Stir in 1-1/2 Cups Water, Apricots, Tomato Paste, Honey, Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Black Pepper, Cilantro, Cumin, and Turmeric.  Simmer over medium-low heat until Sauce is thickened and Apricots are softened and mostly dissolved into the Sauce, about 15-20 minutes.  Stir in remaining 1/4 Cup Water and Cinnamon Stick, simmer 5-7 minutes.  Remove Cinnamon Stick; stir in Lemon Juice and set aside.
Season Chicken Thighs with Salt and Black Pepper; grill skin-side-up 4-7 minutes, flip and grill an additional 4-7 minutes--just enough to render off the fat, brown the exterior and begin the cooking process.  The Chicken Thighs should not be fully cooked.  I like to do this on the BBQ, but it can be done on an indoor grill. 
Remove the skin and layer with Sauce in a Tagine Pot, heavy covered Baking Dish, or Slow Cooker. 

Bake at 350* to 375* for 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours (use the longer time if you have prepped ahead and refrigerated--I do 275* for 2-1/2 hours while we are at Church).  For a Slow Cooker: High 3 to 4 hours, Low 5 to 6 hours.  Serve over a bed of Curry Rice or Couscous with a side of Naan or Black Bread.  Serves 8.

Curry Rice

4  Cups  Water
1  teaspoon  Chicken Bouillon
2  teaspoons  Curry Powder
2  Cups  White Rice
3  Tablespoons  Butter
Salt & Black Pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, bring first four ingredients to a boil.  Stir, cover, and reduce heat to low.  Simmer 18-20 minutes, until Rice is soft and cooked through.  Stir in Butter, Salt, and Black Pepper.  Serve Tagine Chicken on a bed of Curry Rice.

"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said,
Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons;
But in every nation he that feareth Him,
and worketh righteousness,
is accepted with Him."
Acts 10:34, 35

What exactly is a Tagine, anyways?  It is a two-piece Moroccan cooking dish: a bottom deep, flat dish and a heavy conical lid.  The bottom dish can be cast iron and used on the stove or the oven, or pottery and used only in the oven; my set is all pottery.  The heavy conical lid allows the juices from the cooking food to remain trapped in with the food and  baste the dish: the steam rises, hits the top of the cone, and runs down the sides to baste the meat or stew.  If you don't have a Tagine you can always substitute a baking dish with a heavy domed lid (such as Le Creuset  or Pampered Chef) or use a slow cooker.

Moroccan Tagine recipes typically include "warm" spices (Cinnamon, Turmeric, Cayenne, Cumin) and fruit (Apricots, Lemons, Dates).  The meat is usually Lamb or Chicken but sometimes will be Beef or Goat and more rarely, Seafood.  Vegetarian Tagines will often use Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) or Lentils as a base.

I'm really excited about my Tagine--I was able to get it free at World Market back in November!  I was able to combine a $10-off coupon, a reward coupon, and a birthday coupon--this is the only time of year I can combine coupons like this.  Happy Dance!  I've been eyeing a Tagine for a couple of years and couldn't justify buying it.  Coupons made it possible!  I've been very impressed by the way it cooks and can't wait to try beef stew in it.  Thankfully my family is patient with my experiments and testing: this recipe is a Fake-It version of World Market's Al'Fez Moroccan Style Apricot & Cilantro Tagine Sauce.  We really enjoy this over Curry Rice with Naan.  If you do make the Naan, try grilling it on the BBQ when you grill the Chicken.  Yummy!




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