Moroccan flavors favor the spices used in Indian cooking like coriander, saffron and cumin. I love these aromatic spices and the heavenly aroma. I own a beautiful clay tagine bought from a friend who carried it from Morocco, It makes such a beautiful presentation and keeps the dish juicy and moist.
A tajine or tagine is a Maghrebi dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. The pot has a unique conical shape which helps make your dish moist by letting the steam rise, condense and trickle back down into the shallow base.
I used my tagine right on the burner but have experimented with putting it directly in the oven at 300 degree F. Of course then you can’t see the beautiful pot simmering on your stove 🙂
The spices are simple, ground coriander, cumin, cayenne and some ras-el-hanout if you have it.
Onions are a must in a tagine using them as a bed for the chicken. I have used organic chicken breasts here but bone-in chicken would be more moist.
If you don’t have the preserved lemons, you can skip them. The marinated olive gives this dish enough tanginess.
Tagine: Chicken and Zucchini
a beautiful spring inspired quinoa salad
- 3 organic free range chicken breasts ( or 6 chicken thighs)
- 3tbsp olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoon crushed garlic
- 2 tsp fresh ground ginger
- ½ tsp saffron, bloomed in a little warm water
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground fennel
- 1 tsp ras-el-hanout
- 2 Green Zucchini cut in rounds
- 2 small preserved lemons
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley or cilantro
- 5-7 Whole green olives in and couple of tablespoons of the juice
- Pink salt
- Marinate the chicken breasts for a couple of hours in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp fennel powder, 1 tsp garlic and salt.
- Heat the tagine shallow bowl on low/medium heat.
- Add 2 tbsp oil and then the onions. Let the onions sweat for about 5 mins.
- Add the crushed garlic and ginger and then add the chicken breast and brown them 5 mins on each side.
- Add the remaining spices ( cumin, coriander, fennel, ras-el-hanout, saffron)
- Add Olives and olive juice, and coarsely chopped pulp of one preserved lemon and the rind of both, cut into slivers.
- Add cut zucchini
- It should be moist enough that no additional water is needed.
- Cover with the dome and let it cook at low for 1 hr.
- Serve sprinkled with parsley with a side of rice or bread
- This is perfect for a weekend dinner party
I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #172 with Angie and our cohosts Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Su @ Su’s Healthy Living
Thanksgiving and the holiday season is here….a lot of us think about food ( I do), what to make that feeds the soul and brings a deep smile to friends and family. A lamb shank where the meat falls off the bone….just right with apricots and saffron. This has a Mediterranean flair and is a melt in your mouth recipe and guarantees second helpings ( make more:) )
The key is good grass fed organic shanks. Ask the butcher and he will prepare them for you. I went to whole foods and got four cleaned meaty shanks.
Use good dried apricots – just soak then in warm water while you prepare the shanks. The saffron is from Kashmir…my love affair with saffron is perpetual. If you want to get the “real thing” from the valley check out this online store as they will deliver worldwide Kashmir Box. Soak a few strands in warm water while you are cooking.
Harissa is such an incredible hot chili pepper paste. It adds just the right amount of heat to this dish. I found mine in a tube at the local store.
A heavy bottomed pan is needed. You could use a slow cooker for this dish as well.
Lamb Shanks with Harissa, Saffron and Apricots
a melt in your mouth lamb shank with apricots and saffron
- 4 grass fed lamb shanks
- 2 tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 head of garlic – minced
- 2 tablespoon spoon Harissa
- A pinch of saffron strands
- Juice of 2 limes, about 4 tablespoons
- Zest of 1 fresh lime
- Zest of 1 orange
- 5-6 dried apricots – halved and soaked in water for 2o mins
- A coupe of thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 6 cups hot broth or water
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped mint for garnish
- Himalayan pink salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Soak the saffron with the lime juice and 1 tablespoon of warm water for about 10 mins
- Take the clean and dry shanks and sprinkle salt and pepper. Rub it into the meat
- Brown the shanks in oil until they are evenly browed on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed pan, use the remaining oil from the shanks and sauté one chopped onion and 1 head of crushed garlic for about 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Add 1 stick of cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom and 2 tablespoons of harissa. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes
- Add lime zest, orange zest, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Stir in saffron mixture. Lay in the lamb shanks and add the broth. Season with black pepper and salt. Careful not to over salt at this point, you can adjust once the broth has reduced.
- Once the broth is boiling, transfer pot to oven and bake for about 2 hours, covered, until meat is beginning to fall from the bone.
- Adjust salt and pepper seasoning
- In the last half hour of cooking add the apricots. At this point you can remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick from the liquid.
- Serve Shanks on a platter and pour the juice over it. Top with chopped mint and cilantro.
- Serve with a crusty bread or rice.
Taking this delicious dish to Angie’s where the co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale and Petra @ Food Eat Love