Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I know you can do a lot with chicken, but I seem to get stuck in the same old ways of roasting, grilling or making a soup. Any ideas for something new?

This is a dish in my rotation that reappears when the temperature starts to drop.  It's got a nice interesting flavor profile and it's great left over.  It also freezes well.
It happens to qualify as a one-pot-meal, which makes it a great option for those of you who are cooking for one or two people.
Lastly, because I was feeling frisky, I implemented an oblique cut with the carrots.  In this dish, because of the long cooking time, the size of the vegetable cut doesn't really matter.  It does, however, look cool and in shorter cooking methods provides a variety of texture that can be interesting.

Also, for all the flavor it yields, it is strikingly simple.

Chicken Tagine

4 Chicken Legs (Drums + thighs, separated or whole)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cayenne (more if you like heat)
1 onion diced
3-4 carrots peeled and diced
2 lbs golden potatoes
6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
preserved lemons, seeds removed and roughly chopped (or 1 lemon sliced into 1/8" rounds - seeds removed)
1/4 cup of dried fruit, chopped (golden raisins, apricots, apples, mango, etc)

To make an oblique cut, slice the carrot on bias and then make a 1/4 turn and slice again. 

Garnish with:
Cilantro and/or parsley, roughly chopped
Almonds, roughly chopped

1. Before you do any preparation, sprinkle your chicken liberally with salt and pepper and give it some time to rest. Prepare the rest of the ingredients for cooking.
2. Heat a deep heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat, add enough vegetable oil to coat cooking surface.
3. Brown the chicken well in the pan, working in batches if you need to.  Set it aside
4. Working over the same heat, add everything but the garnish to the the pan. Add enough water to almost cover these veggies and press the chicken pieces down into the liquid.  Add a good pinch of salt here.
5. Continuing on the medium high heat, bring this to a simmer.  Cover and either lower the heat on the stovetop to minimum or, preferably, stick it in a 350˚F oven.  Cook for 45 minutes. 
The sauce should be thick and viscous.  Taste it!  If it needs more salt, don't be shy.

Garnish with the chopped almond and the herbs.
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