Like the Chinese claypots, Glazed or unglazed tajines must be seasoned before use. Soak the tajine in water overnight, wipe dry and leave in a warm oven at 150C for two hours. After 2 hours, switch off and leave the tajine to cool in the oven. Coat the base and cover of the tajine with olive oil and the tajine is now ready to use. The tajine pot comes with a conical shape cover and the base is also the serving plate. The conical shape cover allows the hot air to circulate and condensate, keeping the food moist and sealing in the flavour. Tajines must be cooked on a very small fire, usually with a heat diffuser which I do not have. Some tajines can also be cooked in the oven.
Moroccan food has Berber, Moorish and Arab influences. Spices and herbs like cumin, tumeric, cinnamon,saffron,ginger,parsley and coriander are found in most dishes. Besides olives and dried fruits, another essential ingredient in Moroccan cooking is preserved lemons. Moroccan preserved lemons are made from Moroccan citron or lemons and they are sold in jars at some specialty food stores. You can preserve lemons at home, with any type of lemons, kosher salt and lemon juice. I have a jar which I have preserved for a few months.
There are many chicken tajines recipes and I chose this recipe from the Food Safari mainly because I enjoy watching the show and the foods that are featured are by the natives who settle in Australia. This chicken tajine recipe was from the Moroccan chef owner of a restaurant in Manly, Sydney, Out Of Africa. Incidentally, the chef is organizing a 14 days culinary tour to Morocco in October. I have never been to Morocco and have not tried any Moroccan food, I hope the taste is authentic as any other chicken tajines in Morocco. You can still cook this dish if you like even though you do not have a tajine.
Chicken Tajine with Preserved lemons
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and finely sliced
2 onions, chopped
1/2 small red chilli
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves, torn in half
1/2 tsp saffron threads, soaked in a little water
125ml olive oil
1 small chicken (1- 1.2 kg)
2 tomatoes, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
2 onions, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
2 large potatoes, cut into wedges
150g pitted green olives(no olives)
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1 preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and cut into 6 or 8 wedges
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until finely chopped and thoroughly combined. Leave for 30 minutes before using ( or you can make this up to 7 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator).
- Wash and dry the chicken. Cut out the backbone and trim off the wing tips and any excess fat. Chop into pieces. Place in a bowl and rub with half of the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight.
- Combined the chopped tomato and onion with a little more marinade and spread over the base of a tajine (this will prevent the chicken from burning on the bottom). Arrange the chicken pieces in the centre of the tajine. Coat the potato wedges in a little more marinade and arrange around the chicken. Top with the sliced onion, then the sliced tomato, and push the olives into the gaps.(no olives) Combine the remaining marinade with the coriander and water and pour over the top. Decorate with preserved lemon wedges.
- Cover the tajine with the lid and cook over a very low heat on the stove for 45 minutes. Don't stir or lift the lid during cooking
- Take the tajine to the table and serve with couscous and harissa.(no sides)
For dessert, I baked an Orange Almond Cake which is also known as Moroccan Orange Cake.
Does Morocco sound like an exotic country to you? It is close to Europe, but unlike Europe it is unique and different because it has Arab, Islamic and Berber, African and European influences. Well, the names of these famous cities in Morocco: Marrakech, Casablanca, Fez and Tangier already sound so appealing and fascinating to me. If you have never been to Morocco like me, try this famous national dish to get the exotic taste first, and maybe sight later:D
This post is linked to Little Thumbs Up "GINGER" hosted by Alvin, chef and sommelier,
Zoe, Bake for Happy kids and Doreen, My little favourite DIY
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