Chicken & Prune Tagine
- 1.2 kg (2lb 12oz) chicken breasts or whole chicken cut into 12 pieces (or oyster fowl)
- 5 tbsp plain flour (for coating the chicken)
- Olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
- 4 cm piece fresh ginger grated
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot!)
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp 4-spices powder (cloves, cinnamon, ginger, pepper)
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 600 ml (1 pint) chicken stock
- sprig fresh thyme
- 3 tomatoes chopped
- 24 juicy prunes (ideally with stones for flavour)
- Pinch saffron ground or strands (optional)
- 25 g (1oz) almond slivers toasted under grill, for garnish
- fresh coriander for garnish
- Coat the chicken in flour and fry in olive oil in a large non-stick casserole dish. When browned on all sides, strain and remove from the pot. Keep aside on a plate. Add the grated garlic, ginger and cayenne, frying for a minute. Add the rest of the spices and fry for a further minute.
- Add the chicken back to the pot with the chicken stock and thyme Cover and cook on low heat for at least an hour.
- Add the tomatoes, prunes and saffron, if using. Cook for a further 30 minutes. Prepare the semolina, as per packet instructions and serve with toasted almond slivers and lots of fresh coriander.
- Serve with semolina (100g per person/100ml water including a tbsp orange blossom water for 6, pepper, salt, olive oil), prepare as of packet instructions.
Recipe © Jill Colonna | https://madaboutmacarons.com/smoked-tea-beurre-blanc-salmon/
Scottish Field’s recipes with a difference from Scot Jill Colonna in Paris continue today with a chicken dish with a difference.
Jill, who runs the MadAboutMacarons.com website, lives with her husband and family in France, having moved across the channel in 1992.
Today, she presents her recipe for Chicken & Prune Tagine.
Jill said: ‘A Tagine is, broadly speaking, the French’s answer to the British’s favourite curry. When looking for a bit of comforting spice and the warming exotic, as the British go Indian, the French go Moroccan. As we’re a British-French family we love both – but during the winter, one of our favourite slow-cooked casseroles is this Chicken Prune Tagine, as it’s lighter than it looks.
‘When I first arrived in Paris in 1992, Indian curry houses were rare; on the other hand, Moroccan Couscous restaurants were – and still are – extremely popular. What I love about tagines (or tajines, named after the dish they’re traditionally cooked in) is that they’re healthy, too. No need for a heavy dessert afterwards, either. The best dessert following this? Sliced juicy table oranges, with a hint of orange blossom water and more grilled almonds, if you have any left – and what about a orange and prune macaron?
‘This has been my go-to splashed and tattered recipe for years, adapted from a magazine cut-out (with my added notes like ‘More garlic!’, ‘add saffron’ and ‘fresh coriander a must’). Even French/Spanish family that live in Morocco approved this recipe, which is the ultimate compliment. Ideally it’s cooked in a tagine dish but is just as good in a good, heavy crock pot.
‘This recipe started out as a lamb tagine but gradually, as the family have been eating meat less and enjoying more poultry, we’ve replaced it with something a bit more ‘meaty’ than chicken – even although chicken is super for this recipe. Traditionally, chicken tagine is usually made with olives and citron confit or preserved lemon (I love that too – recipe to come!). As it can be a bit acidic, the kids prefer this moreish chicken prune tagine version.
‘So what’s the special poultry meat that can fool us into thinking that it looks like lamb yet tastes slightly lighter? We find it at many local boucheries or at the local market: known as Sot l’y laisse or huîtres de poulet. They are Oyster Fowl – two oyster-sized rounds of darker poultry meat, found near the thighs.
‘They’re rather large – so large that, by rule of thumb, we usually have three per person and they can be each cut into three. They resemble pig’s cheeks (joues de porc), another interesting ingredient for spicy dishes. Please remind me later if you’re interested, as I have another recipe I often make yet haven’t posted. It’s dynamite. What do they have in common? They’re so much cheaper and just as tender as lamb in a slow-cooked casserole.
‘The tagine can be made the day before and reheated before serving. Also freezes well. I suggest making the first part without the prunes. Cool, chill and freeze then after defrosting, reheat adding the prunes and continue the rest of the recipe.
‘Serve with a Moroccan red wine (we love ‘Tandem’, a syrah fruity/peppery red made as a joint effort by Alain Graillot and Ouled Thaleb winery near Casablanca).’