Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicken Tagine with Squash, Peppers and Olives

We've finally used our tagine! We finally found a recipe that we felt comfortable for our first endeavor into the world of tagine cooking. It's not the prettiest plate we've ever put together, but this meal was very tasty. If you don't have a lovely tagine, you can actually make this in a skillet.

Here's what you'll need:
1 (1 1/2 lbs.) package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you can use chicken breasts if you'd like.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil (enough to coat the chicken and cover the bottom of the pan for cooking)
freshly ground black pepper

Spice rub:
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tps cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground corriander

Everything else:
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chicken stock (or water if you want, but the chicken stock adds a ton of flavor)
1/2 squash, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cup green olives (chopped)
Lemon zest
Salt to taste

Here's what you do:
Trim the chicken thighs to remove any large pieces of fat, but don't take everything off. Rub the chicken with olive oil, garlic and some black pepper. Pop in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to marinade. 

When you're ready to begin cooking, pull the chicken out of the fridge to bring it back to room temperature. Coat the bottom of the tagine (or skillet) with oil and bring to medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken. We cooked ours in two shifts to make sure everything cooked evenly. You don't need to cook it through, because it will simmer for a while in the broth/veggie mixture. 

 Remove the chicken and set aside. Add the onion, squash, red pepper, and spice blend to the tagine (skillet) and crank up the heat to high. Stir fry the veggies for a few minutes.

Once your veggies are softened, add the chicken broth and the chicken back to the tagine (skillet). Bring to a boil, then drop the heat so that your mixture is simmering. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Special note if you're using a tagine: If your tagine doesn't have a hole in the top, leave a crack for some of the steam to escape. We used a skewer to prop one edge up slightly.

We ate this over jasmine rice, which takes about 30 minutes to prepare. We started our rice about 10 minutes into the simmering of the tagine.

After 30 minutes, remove chicken and set aside. (We keep ours in the microwave to try to keep it warm). Add the lemon zest and green olives to the mixture. We didn't add salt because the olives added enough for us, but if you think it needs a little salt, add that now.

We wanted ours a little soupy to go over the rice, so we just simmered this for just a couple minutes to bring the flavors together. If you want a thicker stew, let this reduce for a while. 

Add your rice to the bottom of a bowl, top with a couple pieces of the chicken, then top with the veggies and broth.


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