Spicy Apricot-Chicken Tagine

A tagine is a heavily spiced thick stew or braise that is prepared throughout Northern Africa, and is a specialty of Morocco. Inexpensive cuts of meat, fruits, and spices such as cinnamon and ginger are common. It is named after the special pot it is cooked in – the tagine – a clay pot with a conical lid. I have seen tagines for sale in many stores recently, including IKEA. However, I don’t have room for a lot of specialty items in my kitchen, and I’ve found that a Dutch oven works quite well. Plain, buttered couscous is the perfect accompaniment for a tagine. This recipe originally appeared in The Washington Post. 

Spicy Apricot-Chicken Tagine

Spicy Apricot-Chicken Tagine

Serves 4

2T olive oil
4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or 8 small ones)
Salt & Pepper
1 onion, slivered
1½” piece ginger, peeled and grated
2 dried chiles (or ½t crushed red pepper)
1 (14oz.) can diced tomatoes
4″ sprig fresh rosemary
2 cinnamon sticks
6oz. dried apricots* (about ¾c.)
2T honey
Chicken broth or water (optional)
Fresh basil, for garnish

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season all over with salt and pepper. Place chicken thighs skin-side down and cook for 4 minutes on each side until well-browned. (Be careful not to overcrowd the pan – you may need to do two batches.) Remove browned thighs to a plate, leaving oil in pan. Add onion, ginger, and chiles and sauté until onion is softened, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, rosemary, cinnamon sticks, apricots and honey. Nestle browned chicken thighs into stew mixture. If it seems too dry, add a little chicken broth or water, but not too much – maybe ½ cup. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low heat for 35-40 minutes, until chicken is very tender. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with shredded basil before serving.

* I prefer to buy natural Turkish apricots, which have not been treated with preservatives and have a dark color and rich flavor.

Organic Turkish Apricots – dark & sweet.

You’ll look forward to leftovers!

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