Chicken Tagine w/ Apricot- Poppy Seed Sauce

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I love the rich and complex flavors that accompany Mediterranean food.  The combination of herbs and spices commonly used in this part of the world never cease to surprise me; sometimes it is the most unlikely flavor combinations that are the most palette pleasing.  Moroccan food is especially flavorful but it is these complex flavors that can make a dish seem especially complex and time consuming.  When we were living in the Washington DC area I could fulfill my food cravings by choosing from a variety of good Moroccan restaurants.  Here in Albania I satisfy my hunger by making the food myself.

This dish is inspired by Hassan M’Souli’s Moroccan Modern.  I’ve pieced together a variety of recipes to create a recipe that fulfills my desire for Moroccan food and uses ingredients I have in my pantry (while providing me with the opportunity to use my new tagine).  I’m not going to kid you; this recipe is difficult but it is time consuming.  But plan ahead and spend a lazy weekend day in the kitchen,.  I promise your efforts will be well worth it.

CHICKEN TAGINE w/ APRICOT-POPPY SEED SAUCE

Charmoula Marinade

1/2 tablespoon dried crushed chili

1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

1 onion, diced

1 bay leaf, crushed

4 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1 preserved lemon, sliced thinly

1/4 olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.  Allow to sit for at least 1/2 hour before using.

The charmoula marinade may be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Yields:  1 1/2 cups

Chicken w/Apricot- Poppy Seed Sauce

4 chicken leg quarters

1 1/2 cups Charmoula Marinade

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup water

2 cinnamon sticks

4 whole cloves

1/4 cup poppy seeds

7 tablespoons butter

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Pinch saffron threads

1 pound dried apricots

  • Place the chick in a large casserole dish and coat with the Charmoula marinade.  Use your hands to coat all sides of the chicken pieces.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.  When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is browned.  Turn and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pan and place in the bottom of a tagine or oven-proof dutch oven.
  • Add the water, cinnamon sticks and cloves to the skillet and bring to a boil.
  • In a small skillet, dry toast the poppy seeds for about 30 seconds to toast them lightly.  Add to the water mixture.
  • Reduce the heat in the skillet to medium and add the butter, sugar, ground cinnamon, and saffron threads.  Stir to combine.
  • When the butter has melted add in the apricots and stir to coat.
  • Pour the entire mixture over the chicken in the tagine.
  • Cover the tagine and place on the lowest rack in a cold oven.
  • Turn the oven on to 325 degrees and roast until the chicken is cooked through, 30-45 minutes.

Serve over couscous or risotto.

Serves 4

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One thought on “Chicken Tagine w/ Apricot- Poppy Seed Sauce

  1. Preserved Lemons | Zosia Cooks January 22, 2015 at 10:04 Reply

    […] Chicken Tagine w/ Apricot-Poppyseed Sauce […]

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