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One-Pot Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Rosemary and Apricots

Prep: 15min // Marinade: 2 hrs // Cook: 2hrs


What is it?

Moroccan tagine stews are comforting and crowd-pleasing. Easy as an all-in-one pot meal, it is perfect for large gatherings and can satisfy even the fussiest eater with minimal effort. Who doesn't love succulent slow-cooked chicken in tomato sauce with herbs, fragrant cinnamon and sweet and tangy dried apricots?

This recipe is from my absolute favourite Moroccan tagine cookbook, The Modern Tagine Cookbook by Ghillie Basan; my modifications include a special chicken marinade to tenderise the chicken tissue and elevate its flavour. The Modern Tagine Cookbook is a must-have book for all home cooks starting with tagine cooking and seeking to experiment with different combinations of proteins, veggies and dried fruits for natural sweetness and impressive presentations! Everything I've cooked from that book was a gem and easy to follow. The recipes are delicious and refer to all sorts of eaters, omnivores, vegetarians and pescatarians.


Using Tagine Pots

Tagines are ceramic clay pots with a shallow base and a conical lid, popular in North African cooking on coal or open fire. The cone-shaped top condenses steam and returns it to the dish. The condensation will keep the food moist throughout the cooking duration, tenderising and caramelising the contents of that pot. They come in numerous colours but I mostly like the rustic terracotta ones, handpainted with Arabesque geometrical patterns and creating an impressive display and exotic vibe to your table!




Tagine Pot or Cast Iron Casserole?

I have been cooking stews and tagines in Le Creuset cast iron casseroles in my conventional kitchen oven for many years with excellent results. Upgrading to a tagine pot brought some slight practical differences and a more subtle, earthy taste to the food. However, the differences are so small that I believe is not absolutely necessary to own a tagine in order to get the ultimate results!

The reasons I would recommend buying a tagine pot:

  • Food in a conventional casserole in the oven is not as moist. This means you must keep checking your casserole throughout the cooking process and top it up with water if it looks too dry. Or buy a tagine :)

  • Meat cooked in tagine feels a bit lighter and more tender, but only a fraction better than cast iron, not a reason to replace your pot with a tagine.

  • Tagine looks good on a table and gives this exotic vibe

Moroccan tagine recipe photography

Recipe

Equipment

28cm or -better- 30cm cast iron ovenproof casserole or a large 30+ cm tagine pot (like this or this), and an air-tight container for marinating.


Ingredients (serves 5-6)

For the marinade:

  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 thumb-size (5cm) fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 tbsp Moroccan seasoning (you may use Baharat, Ras el Hanout or any other Moroccan tagine seasoning)

  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander (10gr)


For the tagine:

  • 3 Chicken fillets, chopped in half

  • 3 Chicken thighs, chopped in half

  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 1 finely chopped, 2 cut in half

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 180g dried apricots

  • 400 gr finely chopped tomatoes (1 can)

  • 2 tbsp honey

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • A small bunch of basil leaves or coriander leaves, finely chopped, for garnish


Method

  • Prepare the chicken marinade: add the onion, ginger, coriander and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a food processor and pulse a few times until they are finely chopped (we want it slightly chunky, not completely mashed). If there's no processor, finely chop everything and mix it with a drizzle of olive oil. Rub the chicken with salt, pepper and 1 tbsp tagine spice mix and then mix it with the chopped onion-ginger-coriander. Marinade in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight.

  • Preheat your oven to 180c fan.

  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in the tagine or your ovenproof casserole on low heat and stir the chopped rosemary. Cook for 1 min until fragrant.

  • Stir in the halved rosemary sprigs and the cinnamon sticks, and cook for 30 sec, followed by the chicken (with its marinade) and cook until the chicken is browned (2-3 min each side).

  • Then toss the apricots, the 2 tbsp honey and the chopped tomatoes with their juice. Add a little water to ensure there is enough to cover the base of the pot and the apricots are submerged.

  • Bring it to a hard boil, season with salt and pepper, then cover with the lid and transfer to the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours.

  • Halfway through (around an hour past in the oven) remove the tagine and check if water has been absorbed and top up is needed. Gently stir everything in the pot, cover and put it back in the oven.

  • Season to taste and sprinkle the chopped basil (or coriander) leaves for serving

  • Serve with couscous or rice.



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