A tagine is a point-topped clay or ceramic pot used in Moroccan cooking. Whether you cook this recipe in one, or cook it in a saucepan and served in one, it's still called chicken tagine. In the savory/sweet tradition, this version of chicken tagine pairs chicken with sweet potato. It's deliciously sticky with apricots, bright with ginger and spiced with cayenne.
This recipe is by Leah Eskin and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.
Harissa is a spicy North African tomato and pepper condiment that can often be found next to the hummus.
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), cut in half
- 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 Cup olive oil
- 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 Teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 Teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons apricot preserves or jam
- 2 Cups chicken broth
- 1 Pound sweet potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1/2 Cup plump dried apricots, cut in half
- Prepared couscous, for serving
- Harissa, for serving (see notes)
Step 1: In a large bowl, toss 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs that have been cut in half (about 2 pounds) with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Step 2: If you have an actual stove-top tagine, use that. Otherwise, a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot will do. In tagine (or Dutch oven), heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-low. Add 2 halved and thinly sliced onions and cook, stirring now and then, until very soft and lightly tanned, about 20 minutes. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic and 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger; stir 1 minute.
Step 3: Stir in 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne, 1 bay leaf, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and 2 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
Step 4: Nestle in reserved chicken, 1 pound sweet potatoes (cut into 2-inch chunks) and 1/2 cup plump dried apricots (cut in half), making sure everything is submerged. Lower to a gentle simmer, cover and let cook, about 45 minutes (no peeking!).
Step 5: Uncover, poke chicken and potatoes with a fork to make sure they are tender (if not, cover and cook a little longer). Pull out and discard bay leaf. Scoop prepared couscous into serving bowls, and ladle on the stew. Serve with harissa, for a little spicy kick.