Can you believe it’s already almost Christmas again?? Personally, I am quite excited for my favourite season of the year – the lights, the smell of gingerbread, the food, the mood, everything about it basically. There are two reasons Christmas came to mind. First being that today I actually helped a friend start on making Christmas puddings. Yes, you heard right, we were making dessert for December 25th on the October 12th . Bizarre. But the pudding has to sit for around 8 weeks to fully allow all of the flavours to develop. Boy was it hard not to dig in to the gooey, raisiny, spice filled boozy mess. My mouth is drooling just thinking about it.
Second being today’s recipe. In recent years, my brother and I had decided to give our family & close family friends group excursions as a Christmas present (makes it sooo much easier and the outings are super fun). A few weeks ago we finally organised our last years gift – an evening/dinner/drinks on a small ferry in the middle of the Rhine. What flavour packed dish is better made in advance (30 year old boats sadly don’t have cooking facilities) than a tagine or a chilli? We opted for the more “exotic” of the two which went down extremely well.
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
Serves 4 generously
For the tagine
800g/7 oz chicken breast, cut into large cubes
1 tbsp harissa paste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
0.5 tsp chilli flakes
1-2 tsp ras el hanout
450ml/16fl oz beef stock
100g/31⁄2oz dried apricots, quartered
1 x 400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g/14oz tin chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 Aubergine, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp freshly chopped mint
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
For the couscous
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground all spice
60g pine nuts, toasted
- Marinate the chicken with the harissa paste in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for two hours.
- Heat the vegetable oil in the base of a large pan. Fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the dish using a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Fry the onion for five minutes, or until soft and stir in the garlic and spices.
- Add the chicken back to the dish, along with the stock, apricots and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, cover with the lid and simmer for 30 mins. Now add your aubergine and chickpeas and continue simmering for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, for the couscous, pour your couscous, spices and raisins into a large bowl. Dot the couscous with butter. Pour 240ml boiling water into the bowl and immediately cover with cling film. Let the couscous soak for 5-10 minutes before fluffing it up with a fork.
- Once fluffed up, season with salt and pepper and mix in the toasted pine nuts.
- Once your 20 minutes are up, taste the tagine and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and the rest of the spices (mainly ras el hanout and cumin). Stir the mint and parsley into the tagine just before serving.
- Serve with your couscous and an optional dollop of Greek yoghurt if you have any in your fridge.