Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tagine Machine

You know what I love? Coming across a dish I've never heard of, being intrigued enough to give it a go in the kitchen ... and pulling it off!

I don't like to admit that I'm sometimes inspired by Rachael Ray, but every so often I catch an episode of her show "A Week in a Day" and she makes something that sounds simply delicious. Last week I saw her make a Moroccan meatball tagine in a tomato sauce with poached eggs and I was tempted. Not being very familiar with tagines, I did a bit more research and came across a lot of recipes. I also learned that what Rachael made is called kefta,one of several traditional tagine styles. I decided I might have to warm Bill up to the idea of Moroccan food before I set out to replicate Rachael's dish, and so I chose another recipe that I thought might be a good stepping stone.

What intrigued me most about this Chicken Tagine with Tomato Chutney was the tomato chutney. And it turns out it made the dish! It was to die for. It was a little tangy from the red wine vinegar, a little spicy from the cayenne, and a little sweet from the sugar. It was an awesome complement to the sweetness of the chicken and vegetables, which really took on the flavor of the ginger and cinnamon they'd cooked in. The chutney was so delicious that now I'm looking for other applications for it. I'm thinking it might be a good substitute as a kicked up chicken parmesan topping, or even bruschetta.

Funny enough, the recipes I came across rarely asked you to actually use a tagine, the cooking implement from which the dish gets its name. Good thing, because the last thing I need is another one-use wonder gadget in my kitchen :) Oh, and Rachael's recipe? This North African version of a tagine went so well that I'm thinking of moving on to the Moroccan dish this weekend!

Chicken Tagine with Tomato Chutney
For tomato chutney
2 1/2 cups water
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For rice
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup long grain white rice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
For chicken tagine
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups chicken broth
1 zucchini, cut into julienne strips
1 leek, white parts cut into julienne strips
Salt and pepper

For the chutney, place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer until water has completely evaporated and the sauce has thickened into a jam-like consistency, about 30 minutes. Reserve.

In another saucepan, saute onion in olive oil, about 5 minutes. Add rice, pepper, and cumin and stir to combine. Add broth and salt, and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until rice is al dente.

In a saute pan over medium-high heat, saute the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add chicken strips and saute until almost golden on all sides. Add ginger, cinnamon, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add zucchini and leeks and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve chicken and vegetables over rice. Top with a dollop of chutney.

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard of it either! Judging by the ingredients, though, it sounds like something I'd like (but really, that goes for chicken.. with anything). Cinnamon and poultry, or anything savory for that matter, seems pretty rare a combination outside of this specific regional cuisine. But I once had ribs coated in cinnamon sauce that I STILL remember, so I'm on board for any savory cinnamon related dish :)