August 15th, 2010

Quitting with Tagine (and Couscous)


It’s been a while.

Well to make a long story short, I quit my job. It felt a little crazy to do it in this economy, but it became a matter of “now or never.” We have some savings and not very many responsibilities at the moment so it’s as good a time as any to try out a little life experiment: I went ahead and signed up for a few more cooking classes, a cake decorating class, and applied for an internship at a bakery. Class starts in a couple of weeks and I’ll hear back about the internship next week so we’ll see how that all goes.

So in the spirit of trying out new things, I made a Moroccan meal a few days ago. I found this recipe in The Bon Appetit Cookbook. It didn’t seem very intimidating and I already had most of the ingredients on hand so I decided to give it a shot. Turns out, it pays to try new things every once in a while. Although a tagine is a particular kind of pot used primarily in North African cooking, I just used my Dutch oven and it worked out fine. Whatever heavy-bottom pot you have will work great.

Chicken Tagine and Vegetable Couscous
Adapted from Bon Appetit Cookbook
Serves 2-3


1 Tbsp olive oil
4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on (about 2 lbs total)
1/2 an onion
1 1/3 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
dash of cayenne
2/3 tsp ground ginger
2/3 c low salt chicken broth
small can of olives
lemon, cut into 6 wedges

Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot and brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter. Pour off all but thin film of fat from pot. Add onions. Reduce heat to medium and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add all spices and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return chicken pieces to pot, in single layer if possible. Add chicken broth, lemons, and olives. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, basting and turning occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season tagine to taste with salt and pepper.

This can be prepared 1 day ahead so the chicken can sit in the tasty stew but, well, we were hungry and ate almost all of it.

Since I’ve never had couscous before and wasn’t sure what the taste and texture is supposed to be, I just bought a box of instant couscous. I sauteed a quarter of an onion, one zucchini and one summer squash then mixed that with the cooked couscous. It was like teeny tiny rice! Quite delish.


Posted under Poultry, Soups and Stews