I’ve been waiting for a day off work to finally get a moment to finalize and post this unreal Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Spiced Apricots & Prunes recipe, well the day has finally arrived and I’m going to spoil you with this recipe! If you acquainted yourself with my last post, (sorry it was long, I had so much to rant about!), you’ll know I took a cooking class while in Fes, Morocco, and I was fortunate enough to inherit the chef’s passed down recipes from generations in her family. We created a heavenly Chicken Tagine recipe, I am gong to keep it fairly raw and original to its form, with only a few tweaks of my own, because it’s just so damn tasty and it would be a sin to fool around with the flavors too much. Oh and don’t you worry, you don’t need a tagine to make this masterpiece, I’ll tell you how to make it with an everyday french oven/slow cooker!
I have had a lot of people ask me what a tagine is, a tagine is a traditional Moroccan two piece clay pot in which most Moroccan dishes are made and served in, the peaked top allows for rising steam to stay within the pot while cooking, this makes the dishes tender and full of flavor. I did haul one back home from Morocco, I couldn’t leave without one, not this time around! I’m guessing a tagine wasn’t on your to buy list for kitchen pots… so I’ve tested this recipe in my french oven as well as my slow cooker and both turned out magnificent, so don’t panic, you’re not missing out if you don’t have a tagine, you’ll get full tenderness and flavor with a good ol french oven or slow cooker, even a pressure cooker!
When you think of Moroccan food, you think of heavily spiced, fragrant, rich and protein heavy foods, but I was taken aback during my cooking class in Morocco on the simplicity of the spices used and letting the simple flavors meld together to make one scrumptious dish in the end. Let the ingredients do the work and shine on your plate in this recipe, sometimes less is better! With only a few spices, fresh chicken, savory onion and those delicious dried apricots & prunes infused with a little cinnamon, you’ll be making this over and over because it’s irresistible. I’ve made this for M and I at least four times since getting back, we never get sick of it!
So with this Moroccan Chicken Tagine recipe, I bought an organic fresh whole chicken and cut it into its varied pieces, I love white meat and M loves dark meat, a perfect blend of both! Now this spice blend for the chicken does call for a lot of cilantro, I know cilantro is an acquired taste for many but I am telling you now, with the slow cooking and blend of other spices, it does not have that earthy cilantro taste in the end! My husband hates cilantro and he scarfed down the whole dish before I could even tell him it was a cilantro based spice mix! If you are adamant on wanting to try this recipe (why wouldn’t you, straight from the medinas of Fes!) but dislike cilantro that much, use parsley, but just give the original cilantro spice blend a try! Typically this dish is eaten with a giant piece of wood fired oven bread which is seen and baked all over morocco and the smell of freshly baked bread wafts up your nose everywhere you turn, but as I don’t eat gluten, I have tried this recipe with brown rice, chickpea pita, steamed kale and once I even threw in carrots and butternut squash into the recipe which was equally as delicious and I got my serving of veggies as well!
Alright let’s get cooking, the recipes comes together in just minutes, the secret to the layers of sophisticated flavors and tender fall off the bone chicken is from the length of the cooking time, I know we all don’t have time to wait two hours for dinner, but I promise you, this is worth the time if you get a moment on the weekend or have everything ready in the pot the night before and throw it in the oven/slow cooker to cook while you settle down after a long day!
Finally, here is the recipe I’ve been wanting to share since I got back!
1 fresh organic chicken – your favorite cuts of chicken, no skin (I use a whole chicken cut into pieces)
1 large red onion – peeled and thinly sliced
1 heaping cup of cilantro – finely diced
8 cloves of garlic – finely diced/crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried ginger
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp cinnamon – divided
1/3 cup water
10 dried apricots
10 dried prunes
Heat oven to 315 degrees Fahrenheit.
In your french oven add your sliced red onion and fill with enough water to just barely cover the onions, place on high heat and boil for 10 minutes while you are prepping the rest of your dish.
In a large bowl add your finely diced cilantro, the rest of your spices, oil, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/3 cup of water, mix well until mixed thoroughly. add chicken pieces to your marinade and toss in marinade until well covered.
Take your onion & water mixture off the heat, half of your water should be left, add your marinated chicken and the spice marinade to the onions and water, cover with a lid and cook for 2 hours. Let the aroma fill your house!
If you are using a slow cooker, add all your raw onions to the pot, add 1 cup of water, add marinated chicken and spice marinade and slow cook on low for 4-5 hours.
When you have 30 minutes left on the chicken, add your apricots and prunes to a small pot with 1.5 cups of water, a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp cinnamon, bring to a boil and simmer until most of the water has been absorbed and the apricots and prunes are re-hydrated and slightly caramelised.
Top your delicious chicken with the apricots and prunes, serve with your choice of side, salad, mop up the sauce with bread, or steamed veggies!
You’ll be craving this recipe all the time, it’s amazing and coming straight from the tables of Moroccans to your home! I hope you guys love this recipe as much and we do, let me know what you think! Thanks as always for following and reading along, I love sharing the amazing food our worldly cultures have to offer as much as the Moroccans love sharing their food with others! XOXO
A Moroccan Proverb: Amrek ma tkoul ndemt dima koul t3alemt. “Never say I regret, always say I learned.”