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Sunday, 29 September 2013

TAGINE OF CHICKEN WITH PRESERVED LEMONS AND KALAMATA OLIVES

Good Afternoon to you,


I have checked the preserved lemons, which I made here, and they are ready and waiting to be used.  When I opened the kilner jar, containing the preserved lemons, my senses were filled with a heady, lemony, salty, aroma.

I am looking forward to cooking with preserved lemons today, as for some reason, I have had to wait a little longer than usual, for these lemons to mature.  I'm not sure why, but that is not important now, as these yellow beauties are ready and waiting to be used.

The reason for my excitement is, I used my final preserved lemon, a couple of months ago, so my palette is patiently waiting, to be treated to these lovely, slightly salted lemons.

I know you are waiting to see which meat I have chosen to cook this tagine with today,


and here it is, my version of a Tagine of Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Kalamata olives.  Sorry, I know this is a North African dish, but for me, Kalamata olives work beautifully..... and as you know, I am a little biased towards Greek olives. 

Now you have to admit, this does look delicious, but just before we start, I want to mention, that if possible, marinate the chicken overnight, as this will enhance the flavour of the chicken. Preparing the marinade is quick and simple and I find the simplest method for covering the chicken with the marinade, is to pour the marinade over the chicken and then use a pastry brush, to make sure every part of the chicken is covered.  If you want to enjoy this Tagine of Chicken on the same day, then  marinate for at least four hours. 

I can't wait to start cooking, so it is on with the apron and the music I have chosen to listen to today is,




Gerry Rafferty.  This whole album is special and I enjoy listening to every single song, but if I were pushed to choose my favourite song, I think it would have to be "Don't Give Up On Me". Sadly Gerry is no longer with us, but his wonderful music is with us forever.

So, if you have your choice of music playing, pop on your apron, and we will begin.


INGREDIENTS FOR THE MARINADE

1 tsp of turmeric
1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
(use 1 tsp of ground ginger if you do not have fresh ginger)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp of chilli flakes
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil


Mix the ingredients together to form a paste
and set aside for a moment.

Oh yes, before I forget to mention it, I had better mention it now,
be very careful
when using turmeric, because as beautiful as it's colour
is, you do not want bright yellow fingers, as this
spice does stain.

INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN TAGINE

1 kg of chicken pieces
2 medium sized onions
285g of Kalamata Olives
3 tablespoons of olive oil
pinch of saffron threads
1 cinnamon stick
1 preserved lemon
1 tablespoon of lemon oil (from the preserved lemons)
8 fl oz water or chicken stock if you prefer

Pre-heat oven to 180C


Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and
pour the marinade over the chicken.
 Using a pastry brush,
cover all the chicken with the marinade.

Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge to 
marinate overnight.



Slice the onions 
Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan
and brown the sliced onions.
When the onions are brown,
remove from the pan and set aside.


Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.
 Heat the oil and add the chicken to the hot pan,
skin side down.
Add a couple of pieces of chicken at a time.
 Cook until the skin is golden in colour,
turn the chicken pieces and brown the other side.

Be careful, if you have a splatter guard, please use it,
if not stand well back, as the chicken will sizzle and spit.

When the chicken is browned, place into the base of the tagine 


Boil 8fl oz of water 
and add the saffron threads.
Leave for 5 minutes until the water has turned a
beautiful golden colour.


Whilst you are waiting for the saffron to develop,
remove one preserved lemon from the kilner jar
and


remove the pulp
and
finely slice 


If the Kalamata olives are in brine, then rinse well
in cold water.

Add the browned sliced onions,
the sliced preserved lemon
and Kalamata olives
to the chicken



Add 1 tablespoon of lemon oil (from the preserved lemons)
to the saffron water and mix together.


Pour over the chicken
and the final ingredient to add,


is the cinnamon stick, tuck this in between
the chicken.

Place the lid on the tagine
and cook in the oven for 45 minutes 
or until the chicken is tender


Honestly, this is as delicious as it looks.

I serve this Tagine of Chicken with either couscous or Bulgur wheat or sometimes just with bread.

You will have noticed that I have not added any salt to this Tagine of Chicken.  The reason for this, is, the preserved lemons are salty, as are the Kalamata olives..... and for me that seasons the dish perfectly.

Now I can hear you asking, what if I don't have a tagine? This is not a problem,  use a shallow casserole dish, with a tight fitting lid.

Often you will find recipes for tagines of lamb, which include dried fruits, such as apricots, sultanas and prunes and I have to say, I do enjoy lamb with dried fruits added, especially apricots..... it's because of that sweet tooth of mine.

In case you do not know what a tagine looks like,


I thought I would show you mine.  Tagines come in different sizes, but what they all have in common is the shallow dish.  The reason for this, is that food cooked in tagines have a small amount of liquid added, enough to cook the meat, but with a little sauce remaining at the end of the cooking process.

In Moroccan households, it would be traditional to cook a tagine over an open fire.  As lovely as this sounds, I am happy to make mine using  an oven.

I do hope I have inspired you, firstly, to make your own preserved lemons and secondly to make a tagine of chicken..... trust me, you won't be disappointed with the outcome.

Oh yes, one more thing, before I go, remember to remove the cinnamon stick before serving!

So take care and I will see you later in the week.

This week I will be joining,

and
and




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