Chicken Stewed with Dates, Carrots and Chickpeas (Chicken, Date and Carrot Tagine)

Chicken Tagine Square

When I am stuck in writing a post, I always read it aloud to Hubby. This does two things; it allows me to catch many of my typos, and it usually helps me find a good starting place for these little blurbs. Tonight was the perfect example. I was going to start by telling you about how little I actually know of Morocco. I wrote that all I knew of Morroco was what I learned from Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Moroccan section of Epicot Center (my favorite). When I got to this part reading the post through to Hubby, he looked at me incredulously. I thought I had just insulted him to the point of injury. He looked seriously pained. Then he let me have it! Have you guessed why yet? Yeah, the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene I was referencing takes place in Cairo not Morocco. It gives you insight into Hubby. He takes his Indy films seriously (except for that crystal skull *P.O.G). He’ll be making fun of me for that one for awhile!

When I think of Morocco, I think of bright rich colors, and flavors I really love. I am a sucker for the combination of spicy, sweet and savory, and Moroccan food delivers those flavors big time. This tagine uses basic ingredients that you can get at any grocery store; no need for Harissa, Ras Al Hanout, or preserved lemons.

Chicken TagineThis is actually a hybrid between a traditional tagine and a stew and is a wonderful introduction to Moroccan tastes While most tagines are made stove top, this one uses a fix-it-and-forget-it approach. Make up the stew, throw it in the oven and come back two hours later to a kitchen full of heady exotic aromas and a heck of a meal. It tastes best when made the day before serving, but its also delicious straight from the oven.

You could easily switch out the dates for apricots for a tangy flavor or opt for butternut squash instead of the carrots. If you are cooking for a picky bunch or the little ones, scale down the cayenne or leave it out entirely. You get the idea, it’s a versatile meal. The leftovers will make you happy lunch or dinner too; so don’t tell anyone about them. This is a great meal for just the family, but you could double it for an exotic dinner party (you’ll need to use a dutch oven instead of a tagine.) You could also go all out and make a Moroccon feast (I’ve included some link ideas for you). However, you really just need a little couscous and you’ll be all set for a party in your mouth. Enjoy!

*Piece of garbage – I’m a nice girl, I won’t use the other term I was thinking of…

For a Moroccan feast, try some of these recipes from Cooking Light:

Chicken Stewed with Dates, Carrots and Chickpeas (Chicken, Date and Carrot Tagine)

Yield: 6 servings

Chicken Stewed with Dates, Carrots and Chickpeas (Chicken, Date and Carrot Tagine)

The is best when prepared a day in advance, but also delicious served straight from the oven. If you are making it ahead of time, store it in a airtight storage container not the tagine then move it to the baker again to reheat. You do not want to move a tagine baker straight from the fridge to a hot oven.

1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (or 1-16 ounce can)

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 pound chicken thighs, boneless and skinless (about 6 medium)

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 cups)

1 large tomato, seeded and chopped

6-8 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon ginger root, peeled and freshly grated

1 cup fresh cilantro, stems and leaves separated

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup green olives, pitted and finely chopped

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups chicken broth or stock

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced in 1/2” coins

1/2 cup dried dates, pitted and halved

1 lemon, peeled and juiced (with peel reserved)

If you are using dried chickpeas which have soaked overnight, place them in a small sauce pan and cover with water. Bring them to a boil and cook on low heat until tender, about 45 minutes. You can skip this step if you are using canned chickpeas.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pat the chicken dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Arrange the chicken thighs in the hot pan and cook for about five minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove the chicken to a tagine or dutch oven. Add the onions and cook, until translucent and then add the tomato. Cook the tomato and onion for several minutes scraping the pan frequently until most of the liquid is gone and the vegetables are very soft. Add the garlic, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the olives and the flour and cook for another two minutes so the flour looses its raw flavor. Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and lemon peel.

Arrange the carrots, dates and chickpeas over the chicken thighs and then pour the sauce over the contents, lifting and lightly rearranging the chicken and carrot mixture as necessary for all the liquid to fit in the pot. Cover with the tagine or dutch oven lid and place in the oven. Bake for two hours or until the carrots are soft and the chicken is very tender.

Right before serving, top the tagine with the reserved chopped cilantro leaves. Serve hot over couscous.

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2 Responses to Chicken Stewed with Dates, Carrots and Chickpeas (Chicken, Date and Carrot Tagine)

  1. Reanna says:

    Oh this sounds amazing! I’m really starting to love moroccan flavours in my cooking – I think cumin is in about every meal we cook haha. Will definitely have to try this one soon. Thanks for sharing :)
    Reanna recently posted…Rise & Shine (& Eat!)My Profile

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