Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chicken Tagine with Squash & Chickpeas

I don't know about you but we are glued to the TV this morning watching the Inauguration. What an exciting day for the US, its wonderful to see people so full of hope.

Ok, on to the food....

We got quite a few cookbooks for Christmas & our goal right now is to try to cook from at least one of them each week. This week we chose a recipe from A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes
by David Tanis. I really like how this cookbook (and Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Kitchen) is set up into recipes to cook by season, especially since we to tend cook a little more seasonal with our CSA. This tagine was appealing to us for its North African spices & the fact we had almost everything in it on hand.
Chicken Tagine with Squash & Chickpeas
Other than sizing the recipe way down (we don't t need 8-10 servings around our house) there were only two major changes I made to the recipe.  First, I used canned chickpeas instead of soaking dried ones. I did this because we had the canned one & we like the flavor of the canned  ones better.  Using canned chickpeas meant they needed  to simmer in seasoning for much less time then called for to get tender. The other major change was the cut of the chicken, it called for whole legs with the thighs but I couldn't find those so I just used thighs.

I  have to say we weren't blown away by this dish. The chicken itself was wonderful, moist, tender & flavorful, but the rest of the dish was bland.  We were quite surprised by this. Perhaps we needed to add more harissa oil to each serving though I thought it was already a little greasy, maybe I should have ladled off more fat during the cooking. I think this recipe is worth playing around with & improving on. One thing I will do for sure next time is add less water to the pot before putting it into the oven. The chickpeas water wasn't enough to cover the chicken so I added a little more now I don't think it was completely necessary for the chicken to be covered.

Chicken Tagine with Squash & Chickpeas
adapted from A Platter of Figs

For the chickpeas:
1 14oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
5 c water
1/2 onion cut into 4 large pieces
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
1 T olive oil
pinch of ground cinnamon

For the tagine:
1 lb of winter squash, peeled, seeds removed & thickly sliced (we used a festival squash)
salt & pepper
2 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin
1-inch piece ginger, peeled & grated
1/2 t cumin seeds, toasted & roughly ground
1 large onion, diced
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
pinch of saffron
red pepper flakes

Put the chickpeas, water, onion, cinnamon stick, cloves, olive oil & a pinch of salt into a saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. The chickpeas should be very tender. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Season the squash with salt & pepper. Season the chicken with salt & pepper then massage it with the grated ginger. Sprinkle with the ground cumin seeds.

Heat the olive oil & butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions & cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat & add the garlic, saffron & red pepper flakes.
Chicken Tagine with Squash & Chickpeas
Layer the onions on the bottom of a shallow wide casserole dish or dutch oven. Top with the squash slices. Place the chicken on top in a single layer with the skin up. Add the cooking liquid from the chickpeas until chicken is barely covered. Cover, place in the oven & cook for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to 375 & cook 30 minutes more. Remove the lid, if there is a lot of surface fat ladle it out. Put back into the oven & cook 20 more minutes until the chicken is lightly browned.

Warm the chickpeas back up. Drain. Add a dab of butter & a pinch of salt to them.

Serve the tagine with the chickpeas.

4 servings

The book suggested serving the tagine with this harissa oil.

Harissa Oil

1/2 T cumin seeds
1/2 T coriander seeds
1/2 t caraway seeds
1/2 t fennel seeds
1 1/2 T sweet paprika
1/2 t cayenne
1 garlic clove
1/2 t salt
1/2 c olive oil
few drops red wine vinegar

Toast all the seeds in a skillet until fragrant. Grind.

Mash the garlic with the salt into a paste.

Mix all ingredients together. WIll keep for a week in the fridge.


Finla said...

This looks yumm. A excelen, delicious wholesome meal for a winter evening.

Dewi said...

Oh I have that book, but haven't tried this specific recipe, the harrisa oil intrigue me. I might try this recipe.

Maria said...

Looks fantastic!!

Lori said...

It does look good, sorry it did not live up to your expectations. Thats a bummer. It is fun to play around with one of these and come up with something more tastey!

I watched the Inauguration stuff at the gym and made it home to see Biden and Obama get sworn in. Whew. What a speech.

Anonymous said...

The tagine looks good though - shame on the flavour. I recently made a lamb tagine from Nigells's Christmas book and it was fantastic, a lot of flavour comming from dates and pomegranate juice.

Beth (jamandcream) said...

Looks great Kat. Nice and warming on a cold winters day

Giff said...

mmm good. I love that cookbook!

Dragon said...

I'm sorry you were dissapointed but it looks really good.

grace said...

this sounds like a really aromatic meal. even though it didn't blow you away, the potential is certainly there. let us know when you try again!

Deborah said...

I have a couple of cookbooks arranged by season, and I really love it when they do that! This sounds wonderful!

Alicia Foodycat said...

It looks good even if the flavour wasn't what you hoped for. I often think that with Moroccan dishes that I have made though - the seasonings seem to be a lot more subtle than I like.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm. This recipe just screams comfort food.

test it comm said...

This tagine sounds good!

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t = teaspoon
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