This is one of my family's favourite recipes; I am constantly asked all the time to make it. I was taught it by a Moroccan friend who also lives in France - it is an old family recipe passed down for many years. It is great all year around - served with flat breads or pitta breads & assorted salads in spring & summer or served with hot fluffy & fruity couscous, assorted chutneys or pickles in the depths of winter. I make mine in a fantastic "Electric Tagine" made by Tefal; it of course works in a more traditional clay tagine - BUT the real secret is.......it works like a dream in a Slow cooker/Crock Pot. Try it out! If you cannot get Ras-el-Hanout, which is an exotic Moroccan spice mixture, including rose petals - don't worry, use the other spices I have listed instead; or I have a Ras-el-Hanout recipe posted on Recipezaar: North African Ras El Hanout Spice Mix N.B. I notice in a review that it has been suggested that Chemical Heat is needed!! The great thing about sharing recipes is that they can be adapted to personal taste. BUT, this is not supposed to be a "Hot" recipe, but a "Fragrant & Fruity" recipe!! A Tagine by definition is SLOW cooked over a LOW heat & is very fruity with subtle undertones of heat! However, life would be boring if you couldn't add a bit of "heat", but it's just not traditional. What is traditional, is to allow your guests to add their own heat, so have a bowl of "Harissa" on the table. Preserved lemons are also a wonderful and traditional addition - I have a recipe posted on Recipezaar: Preserved Fresh Lemons PLEASE NOTE: This recipe lists canned chickpeas in the ingredients, NOT dried! If you use dried chickpeas, you MUST soak them and cook them first!
- 6 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into large chunks (or assorted chicken pieces, about 3 lbs)
- 1 tablespoon flour or 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 3 -4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 1 -2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 inch fresh gingerroot, finely chopped
- 6 ounces dried apricots
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 (14 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 (14 ounce) cans chickpeas
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1⁄2 pint chicken stock
- 1 pinch saffron or 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 4 teaspoons ras el hanout spice mix (or make up spice mix below)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- salt and black pepper
- chopped fresh coriander, to serve (Cilantro)
- 2 carrots, peeled & diced (optional)
- 1 preserved lemon, chopped into small wedges (optional)
- PLEASE NOTE: This recipe lists canned chickpeas in the ingredients, NOT dried! If you use dried chickpeas, you MUST soak them and cook them first!
- Heat up olive oil in a frying pan/skillet & saute chopped onions & garlic for 5-10 minutes.
- Add chicken stock & gradually mix in flour or cornflour until well mixed & not lumpy.Add honey & tomato paste & mix well.
- Add herbs,spices & finely chopped ginger with salt & pepper to taste.
- Finally add tinned tomatoes & mix well.
- Pour the above tomato,onion & spice mix into slow cooker or tagine.
- Add chicken & chickpeas & mix well.
- Add dried apricots making sure they are covered by juice. (Add the carrots if using.).
- Give it a gentle but good stir to mix everything together well.
- Crock Pot or Slow Cooker - Cook on high for about 3 to 4 hours OR automatic with keep warm facility for up to 8 hours. (Please note that the cooking times depend on your crockpot, the cooking times I have suggested work fine with mine which is a Morphy Richards Slow Cooker.).
- If cooking in a Traditional Tagine, do as above & cook SLOWLY over gas or barbeque for about 2-3 hours.
- Electric Tagine cooking - same as the slowcooker. If you need to thicken it up towards the end of the cooking time, add cornflour which has been mixed with a little water & add to the tagine - mix well.
- Serve with freshly chopped Coriander/Cilantro sprinked on top & either with couscous, rice, fresh flat bread, pitta bread or salads. It is also good (if not traditional) served with fluffy pureed or mashed potatoes & pasta.
- Note: You can use chicken pieces or whole chicken which has been cut up into portions, but you will then need to brown them in a frying pan or skillet beforehand. Preserved lemons make a great addition, add them when you add the apricots and carrots.