Just writing the name of this recipe instantly transports me to a foreign land. Ever since I was young, I've had a fascination for different cultures. I've been fortunate to experience a few different ones but not in the way that would turn my every day upside down. I'm drawn to the mystery of people living life unlike my own. But most of what I'm drawn to is how different cultures prepare and cook their food. The traditional way of eating and the flavors that are particular to that region.
One place that holds such mystery for me is Morocco. Everything I've seen about Morocco has been in films and photos but its beauty and colors take my breath away. I imagine walking down the narrow street of a market, people buzzing about, colors exploding all around me, wind blowing the intoxicating scent of spices...I have an ideal of a country I know little about but I suppose to me that may be part of the charm. A kind of fantasy I've created around a place and culture.
My first experience with Moroccan food was a Tagine or Tajine - that includes apricots, spices and chickpeas. It was love at first bite. I had never tasted anything like it. The combination of fruit and spices was mind-blowing.
As I don't use legumes much these days, I decided to make my own version of Tagine using chicken, a blend of spices, apricots, dates, lemon rind and almonds.
When it comes to chicken for this dish, in my opinion thighs and legs cook and taste infinitely better than breast. I suggest serving it over rice but you can use cauliflower rice as well, if you're strictly paleo. If you want a recipe for cauliflower rice, check out this simple guide.
chicken tagine with lemon, dates and apricots
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 45-50 minutes
makes: 6 servings
1 package chicken thighs - roughly 1.5 lbs
1 package chicken legs - roughly 1.5 lbs
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt divided
1/4 tsp pepper
rind from one lemon
4 medjool dates chopped
8 dry apricots chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
2 tbsp sliced almonds
dutch oven or large soup pan
Preheat pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and chicken to pan. Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes per side. You may have to cook chicken in 2 different batches. When chicken is cooked, set aside on a plate.
Meanwhile using a vegetable peeler, cut the rind off lemon. Then cut each peel into thin long strips and set aside.
Next add the other tbsp olive oil, onion and 1/4 tsp salt. Sauté for 5-8 minutes until onion is translucent. Add garlic and spices and cook stirring continuously for 2 minutes.
Return chicken to pan along with broth, dates, apricots and lemon peel. Cover, lower heat and cook for about 30-35 minutes until chicken is fully cooked.
Add arrowroot starch, cilantro and sliced almonds and give a good stir.
Serve over rice or cauliflower rice with additional cilantro and sliced almonds.