First things first – you do not need a tagine to cook this, it works fine in a deep sided pan with a fitted lid so don’t go scrolling past this deliciousness because of your equipment woes. And it is so delicious, spicy sweet and salty flavours mix with delicious textures to make this the perfect autumn comfort food. And it’s easy.
While I was in Morocco I had a variety of tagines. Like, so many. Not all were good but some were amazing! The worst one was full of undercooked potatoes and lacked well… flavour. The best one was full of flavour and soft vegetables soaking up the sauce. I also ate a lot of brochette (skewered barbecued meat) and it was often marinaded in a chermoula type sauce – so tasty.
These experiences have sort of come together and become this dish. The base of this tagine is a quick and easy chermoula marinade for the chicken. You can marinate the chicken up to overnight but you don’t have to, even 5-15 minutes will help. The flavour of the sauce gets into everything and it’s there for you to soak up with bread or cous cous so no matter how long you marinade for, flavour is still going to be there.
You then add thhe vegetables and dried apricots to this along with some stock and after a little time on the stove top you’ve got a seriously delicious meal and amazing smells wafting through your house. You can make this in 1 hour if you have a food processor to make the marinade so it’s not that time consuming either. And most of that time is you doing other things while it bubbles away on the stove top.
The other great thing about tagine is that it’s a one pot dish -I’ve spoke of my love of these before when I made this chicken thigh, chickpea, tomato and mozzarella bake yum!
1/2 bunch coriander, stalks included (well rinsed)
1/2 cup parsley
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric, ground
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup spring onion, roughly chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs water
pinch of salt
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Chicken drumsticks or similar sized chicken pieces
1 Tbs olive oil
4 dried apricots, sliced
400g sweet potato (I used purple)
400g butternut pumpkin
1 cup chicken stock (or water with a generous pinch of salt)
1/3 cup roasted almonds
Couscous, cauliflower rice or flat bread to serve
Place all the ingredients for the chermoula into a blender and process until a thick sauce forms. Reserve 1 Tbs of the chermoula. Toss the chciken in the marinade together and set aside for 5 minutes to overnight.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based fry pan or cast iron pan with a fitted lid (or a tagine), over medium heat. I used a Le Creuset risotto pan because I am obsessed with it. Add the chicken. Turn after two minutes. Place the lid on and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sliced apricots, saffron and the chicken stock and replace the lid. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile remove the skin from slice the sweet potatoes and pumpkin into 5mm thick pieces that are about 4-6cm long and 3cm wide. After the 10 minutes add these along with 1 cup of water to the chicken. Stir slightly to evenly spread the ingredients. Replace the lid. Cook at a simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is just starting to come away from the bone and the vegetables are tender. Stir through the roast almonds.
Serve with the remaining chermoula drizzled over the top and with any extra herbs. You can also drizzle over a little yoghurt if you feel like it! Couscous or bread can be served on the side.