For the past several years, I’ve been a fan of Emile Henry‘s French ceramic cookware and more recently, their colorful plates. It reflects my Francophile ways. Their products are very useful at home, giving some colorful punch to my mostly silver pans, and it helps a lot when I have dinner parties that their pans are large enough to feed the six to eight guests I have over (hence my recent purchases above).
After a recent conversation with a friend of mine, we were talking about how it would be cool to visit Morocco for its exotically beautiful and vibrant culture and how it would be great to cook a tagine at home. Taking upon that note, I became inspired and purchased Emile Henry’s tagine (their largest one at 3.7 quarts) from my local Sur La Table.
Frankly, I never cooked a tagine before but have similar experiences in cooking stews. I am familiar with the concept of Moroccan food that the resulting flavor would be savory with spices and leaning on the sweeter side because of the use of dried fruits. Thankfully, after adapting a dependable recipe, the results turned out great and I invited a few friends over to help me eating this delicious stew – or I will be eating this for the entire week. Also, with coincidental timing, the very strange occurrence with snow the past Saturday makes this tagine a lot more appealing for friends to schlep over. Tagines are one of my current favorite comfort foods. (The recipe will be toward the end of this post.)
Just in case if I didn’t serve enough food, I ended up making some sushi (salmon and tuna maki rolls and nigiri) and plated with Emile Henry’s ruffled plate. The neutral clay colored plate worked for the colorful sushi I made at home.
So, if you want to cook the tagine at home, here’s the recipe:
Chicken Apricot Tagine
Adapted from Epicurious
Note: You may cook without a tagine itself by using a large heavy saucepan or skillet that can handle 3 quarts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon pimentón
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 (4 pounds) chicken, cut into 6 pieces, wings and backbone discarded
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium red onions, halved, then sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
5 fresh cilantro
5 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, separated into halves
1/3 cup whole blanched almonds, optional
Stir together ground cinnamon, ginger, pimentón, pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat well.
Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in base of tagine (or in skillet or saucepan), uncovered, over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then brown half of chicken, skin sides down, turning over once, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Brown remaining chicken in same manner, adding any spice mixture left in bowl.
Add onion, carrots, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt to tagine and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Tie cilantro and parsley into a bundle with kitchen string and add to tagine along with 1/2 cup water, chicken, and any juices accumulated on plate. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.
While chicken cooks, bring honey, remaining cup water, cinnamon stick, and apricots to a boil in a 1- to 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until apricots are very tender (add more water if necessary). Once apricots are tender, simmer until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 10 to 15 minutes.
While apricots cook, heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in a small skillet over moderate heat and cook almonds, stirring occasionally, until just golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Ten minutes before chicken is done, add apricot mixture to tagine. Discard herbs and cinnamon stick, then serve chicken sprinkled with almonds on top (optional on the latter).