When Spices Collide

With life returning to the normal hum of low-level insanity, I’ve rediscovered a desire to cook, if only to see how many dishes I can dirty (since N’s the one who cleans up for me).

Last night’s foray into culinary messiness was a chicken tagine recipe I found in a recent issue of Cooking Light.  I decided to try it primarily because I’d just scored organic dried prunes and apricots – two key ingredients – at the local Grocery Outlet.  The combination of spices, fruits and olives was not something I’d normally try, but it’s such a surprisingly tasty blend that it’s now part of my tried and true repertoire.  And with my lovely cobalt blue Le Creuset dutch oven, making stews like this are so much easier.

Chicken Tagine (courtesy of Cooking Light)
1 pound chicken thighs halved (I can only find 1.5 pound packages, but it works out just fine)
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic (or 3 cloves, but I’m a fan of jarred pre-cut garlic)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup each dried prunes and apricots, halved
20 pitted kalamata olives (I don’t halve these)
14 ounces low-salt chicken/veggie broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Hot couscous

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Place chicken on a plate, and keep warm.  Add onion to pan; sauté for 4 minutes or until golden. Add ginger and garlic; sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in turmeric, cumin, fennel seeds, and cinnamon; sauté for 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Return chicken to pan. Add apricots and the next 4 ingredients (through broth); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and rind. Serve over couscous.

Serves 4-6 people with normal appetites, 3-4 hungry guys.

2 thoughts on “When Spices Collide

  1. It's a round Dutch Oven – 7 and 1/4 US quarts according to the lid. It weighs a ton, and isn't always that useful when I'm cooking for 2-4 (as I tend to), but the pot's weight and heft makes it perfect for searing/braising meat. Plus it's an awesome color, and I feel so frrrench when I use it.

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