Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds

First of all, I would like to point out that I don't own a tagine, so I just used a skillet (but renaming this recipe chicken skillet with apricots and almonds just didn't seem right). Side note: if you know me, that was not me dropping a hint that I want a tagine, so please don't get me one for my birthday. Don't get me wrong, they're lovely, but I'm not willing to carve out room for one of those bad boys in my cabinet. It will be regifted. Or maybe used as a planter. Hopefully I won't be faced with that decision. Anyway, tagine or no tagine, this recipe is delicious (so flavorful from the spices, plus a little sweet from the apricots with a nice crunch from the almonds).

Makes 4 servings

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (3 lb.) chicken, cut into 6 pieces, wings and backbone discarded
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, halved, then sliced ¼-inch thick
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or water)
1 tablespoon mild honey
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled

1.      Stir together ground cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cayenne, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat well. Can make ahead and marinade overnight.
2.      Heat butter and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in base of a 10- to 12-inch tagine (or heavy skillet), uncovered, over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Brown half the chicken, skin sides down, turning over once, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Brown remaining chicken in same manner, adding any spice mixture left in bowl.
3.      Remove some of the chicken fat from the tagine, leaving about 3 tablespoons. Add onion and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, all the chicken, plus any juices accumulated on plate. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.
4.      While chicken cooks, bring honey, remaining 1 cup stock, cinnamon stick, and apricots to a boil in a 1- to 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until apricots are very tender (add more water if necessary). Once apricots are tender, simmer until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 15-20 minutes.
5.      Ten minutes before chicken is done, add apricot mixture and fresh herbs to tagine. Remove the cinnamon stick, then serve chicken sprinkled with almonds on top.

slightly adapted from Gourmet, May 2006 (originally adapted from Baija Lafridi)
oil added
spices and oil mixed
chicken coated with spice/oil mixture
browning the chicken (although it already
looks pretty brown from the spices)
red onion
crushing garlic into the cooked onions
adding chicken stock
adding the chicken back
chicken added back
dried apricots
chopped apricots, cinnamon and honey
adding chicken stock
reduced down to a glaze
apricot mixture added to chicken
herbs added to chicken
I almost forgot to sprinkle on the almonds, but
remembered at the last minute (see photo at the top). They
add a nice crunch, along with almond flavor of course.

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