For those days when you wish you could escape to another world, serve a tagine and it transports you to Morocco. Omit the chicken and add a selection of vegetables to serve a delicious vegan meal.
- 1 kg skinless boneless chicken thighs, the meat stays moist if you use chicken breast reduce the cooking time (See the note below)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 300g onions, about 4 large onions finely diced (this thickens and sweetens the sauce)
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 cm piece of grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 500ml boiling water with 1 added chicken or vegetable stock cube
- 85g dried chopped dates, blended with the 250ml of water to form a smooth paste
- 60ml honey or golden syrup for vegans
- 80g flaked almonds
- fresh coriander leaves to garnish
- Couscous to serve
- Heat the oil in a pot add the onions, cover with a lid to ‘sweat’ the onions, when they are soft but not brown, add the garlic and spices, stir for a minute till you can smell the spices.
- Add the chicken to the pan, add the diluted cube made into stock and the date mixture, stir to combine, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. The length of time depends on the thickness of your chicken, adjust the time accordingly.
- Please stir the pot often, so the tagine doesn't burn, especially in the corners of the pot.
- Remove the lid and simmer for 30 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly and the chicken is tender, again please stir the pot often to prevent the tagine from sticking in the corners.
- Just before serving stir in the honey and sprinkle the almonds and fresh coriander over the tagine. Serve with couscous.
The Tagine can be made the day before.
Cook for the hour the day before needed, simmer for the last half hour the next day.
Serve with jewelled couscous, this is couscous that you add cooked vegetables to, I like adding peppers, courgettes and aubergine softened in a little olive oil and added to the soaking couscous.
For a dinner party, press your couscous into a small bowl turn it out onto individual plates, place the chicken on top of the couscous, drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with flaked almonds and chopped coriander.
Vegetarians & Vegans can add courgettes, peppers, aubergines or any of your favourite vegetables.
Vegans you can leave out the honey, I often omit the honey, chopped coriander (my kids aren’t big fans) and the almonds for a mid-week meal and the flavour is still delicious or add golden syrup if you want a slightly sweeter dish.
Please do not be tempted to use fresh chicken stock, it can leave a greasy sauce, a diluted stock cube works best in this case. You want the spices to dominate the sauce not the stock.