Recipe by Spice Boy
A Tagine is both an cooking vessel and the dish it's prepared in, originating in Africa. The conical shape of a tagine helps to baste the dish as it cooks. If you happen to have a tagine, that's great, but the dish works just as well in a medium or large covered pan. There are many variations on the dish, but in my family we like to use chicken thighs (with skin and on the bone, since they do well with the long cooking time). We've also done it with carrot in place of the sweet potatoes, and you can vary the fruit. Sometimes we do golden raisins and dried apricot in place of the dates. The chile-ginger-cinnamon broth is sweet, spicy, and delicious. The sugared walnuts and yogurt are for serving. Serve over cous-cous.
Top Review by East Wind Goddess
This was a very complex-flavored dish, and really easy to make--don't let the list of ingredients deter you! I opted for apricots instead of dates because I don't care for the added sweetness that the dates contribute. I do have a tagine and find many recipes difficult to "fit" into my dish, but this suits it perfectly! Thanks, SpiceBoy.
- 1 cup walnut halves
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 8 ounces plain yogurt
- 4 chicken thighs (skin-on and bone-in)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cumin
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup apple cider (or substitute an addition Cup of chicken stock)
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into medium-large chunks
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas
- 1 cup dates, pitted and cut into thirds
Directions See How It's Made
- For sugared walnuts: Melt 1 T butter in a small saucepan and cook the walnuts over low heat until they are a shade darker and fragrant. Set aside to cool. When cool, remove from the pan into a bowl (leaving behind any remaining butter) and toss with the 1 T sugar. Set aside.
- In the tagine cooking vessel (or a broad saucepan with a cover, large enough to comfortably fit all 4 chicken thighs at once), heat 1 T olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs on both sides and sear until just golden brown, but not cooked through. Set them aside. The thighs will have rendered some fat; remove enough fat to leave only 1 T fat in the pan. Lower the heat to medium and saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, and ginger and continue to saute until the garlic is softened and the spices are toasted, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cider, chicken broth, and honey and bring to a boil. (Note: If you are using a tagine cooking vessel, add only half the liquid to begin with, then add the remaining liquid halfway through cooking time. Generally, a tagine is not large enough to accommodate all the cooking liquid at once.).
- Boil the liquid for about 5 minutes, until liquid has reduced slightly. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To the broth mixture, add the sweet potato, half of the chickpeas and half of the dates. Nestle the chicken thighs in the pan and toss the remaining dates and chickpeas over the top. Cover the vessel and place it in the 375-degree oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the sweet potato and chicken thighs are cooked though. (Note: If you are using a regular pan, baste the dish every 15 minutes or so. If using a tagine, add the second half of the cooking liquid halfway through cooking time, when some liquid has steamed away).
- When cooked, remove from the oven and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or honey as desired. Serve over cous-cous with sugared walnuts and yogurt on the side. (Note: for extra richness, you can stir 1 T butter into the broth until melted and the broth is shiny).