Little known fact: I was this close to enrolling in culinary school. Yep, I was all set to send in the paperwork. Ultimately, my dreams of becoming a chef were dashed by the thought of tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. In the end, I think I made the right choice given my situation – tending bar meant money coming IN, and not out of the bank. Not to mention, it got me started on my current boozy career path. All that said, deep down I still geek out when I get the chance to witness a chef work their magic. Whenever Karen’s up here in the Bay it’s such a treat to watch her work. This time instead of Karen, chef Zouhair Karam graced us with his presence, and shared his quick and easy chicken tagine recipe. Currently, chef Karam is running a Moroccan pop-up on Friday nights at Guerrilla Cafe in Berkeley. Tagines make frequent appearances on the menu. A tagine is a natural clay pot native to North Africa, used for all sorts of amazing slow-cooked dishes. Basically it’s one of the best cooking tools ever, as it does all the work for you. I should say that tagine dishes can vary quite a bit, but likely some combo of meat, chicken, fish, veggies, herbs, spices, and even fruit and nuts. Here, we kept it quick and simple with chicken.
All the work for this dish is in the prep. Gather and prepare all your ingredients ahead of time: marinate the chicken; peel and slice the potatoes; peel the tomato; dice the onion; slice the garlic; chop the parsley and mince the ginger. Once everything is prepped, you’re good to go. Forgive me, as some of the ingredients you see below are not in the tagine, but for the roasted pepper salad that chef Karam made for us (pictured here) another traditional Moroccan dish.
Place the tagine on the stove over medium heat, and cover the bottom of the tagine with olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the onions.
Next, add the garlic and a sprinkle of parsley.
Top with the salt and a layer of spices.
Next, place the marinated chicken in the center of the tagine.
And arrange the potato wedges around the chicken.
Sprinkle with paprika, salt, black pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
Top with a few slices of tomato, a couple sprigs of fresh parsley, and put on the lid. Turn the heat down to low and let cook for about 40 minutes.
After about 40 minutes, open the tagine and add the peas. While the lid is off, you can stick a fork into a potato or two to check for doneness.
At this point, you’re almost done. Depending on the size of your chicken and the thickness of your potatoes, you might have 5-10 minutes left of cook time. Simply make sure your potatoes are soft all the way through.
Once finished, shut off the heat and remove the lid. Remember to protect your hands, as the tagine gets hot! The aroma . . . unbelievable!
Take the tagine off the stove, let cool a bit, and dig in!! Freshly baked Moroccan bread is best (which sadly we didn’t have) and perfect for scooping up all the yummy juices at the bottom of the tagine. Again, I want to give a special thank you to chef Zouhair Karam for cooking and sharing his delicious tagine recipe, and Project Bly for their amazing wares. Cheers!
- half a chicken, bone-in and cut into quarters
- 1 peeled whole tomato, sliced
- 2 russet potatoes, cut into wedges
- peas (canned or fresh)
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup of chopped parsley
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2-3 strands of saffron
- Marinate chicken, with paprika, salt, 2 tsp parsley, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, for at least an hour.
- Warm a glug of olive oil in the tagine over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, turmeric, saffron, a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of parsley.
- Add the marinated chicken to the center of the tagine.
- Arrange the potato wedges around the chicken. Sprinkle w/ paprika and drizzle w/ olive oil.
- Top with sliced tomatoes and a sprig of parsley.
- Turn heat down and simmer on low, covered, for about 40 minutes.
- Uncover and add the peas. Recover and cook for another 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken and thickness of your potatoes.
- Serve chicken directly from tagine and pair it with couscous or flatbread.
(images by HonestlyYUM)