Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tajine au Poulet et aux Olives (Chicken and Olive Tajine)

MC is my oldest friend. Not old old (she's actually younger than me!) but I've known her since grade 2. She came for a visit from Montréal for a few days. I don't see her as often as I should but we have gone on vacation together a couple of times, the last one being in Morroco in 2007. Inspired by our trip, I thought of making a Morrocan tajine. I saw a quick chicken tajine recipe on Ricardo (Ricardo Larrivée's French cooking show on Radio-Canada) a while ago and saved it for a special occasion. This was the perfect occasion and also perfect on a cold and rainy day.

MC and I had a great trip in Morroco. It was just as I imagined, and a bit more. As women, we got more attention than we wanted. Otherwise, the food was great, simple and delicious. Everything is so colourful over there. I loved going into a souk, even though it's quite intense. We spent a few days in the city of Marrakesh then spent most of our days in a 4x4 driving through the Atlas mountain range. We spent our final days at the beach in Agadir.

Pictures from MC's and my 2007 trip to Morroco.

Tajine au Poulet et aux Olives (Chicken and Olive Tajine) - Serves 3-4
Adapted from Isabelle Brossard (Ricardo).
I really liked this recipe because it was very simple to make. The longest step is the cooking time to make sure you get maximum flavour. I sliced the lemon and browned them beause I thought that's what I saw on TV. However, the recipe does not call for it and I'm not sure if it's necessary. If you can find preserved lemon, I'm sure that's even better! I added potatoes per the recipe, but for a non-carb option, adding zucchini near the end would be a great addition (there always seemed to be zucchini in the dishes in Morroco!)

* olive oil
* butter
* 4 chicken thighs, skinless
* salt, to taste
* freshly ground pepper, to taste
* 1 small onion, diced small
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* ½ lemon, quartered
* ½ can of green olives, chopped
* 2 potatoes, sliced into thick matchsticks or cubed
* ½ L of chicken broth
* ½ L of water
* ½ tsp cumin
* ½ tsp nutmeg
* ¼ tsp cardamom
* ½ tsp dried chili flakes
* ½ bunch of fresh coriander, sliced thinly
* ½ bunch of fresh parsley, sliced thinly

In a large pot, on medium/high heat, brown your chicken thighs in some olive oil and butter.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Remove the chicken thighs and set aside.
In the remaining fat, add the onion, garlic and spices and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and the chicken thighs back.
Also add the olives, potatoes, lemon and water into the pot.
Bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and cook for 1.5 hours, with the lid on.
Taste and adjust seasoning (salt and pepper).
Garnish with coriander and parsley
Serve with couscous.

Browned lemon slices and spice mixture.

Browned chicken thighs and the finished product.

I served it with some couscous and grilled asparagus.

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