This recipe was inspired from a recipe by Anthony Worrall Thompson. http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/4817/moroccan-chicken-tagine
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 cinnamon or cassia stick
1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp chili paste
2 tsp tagine mix (The Essential Ingredient has a very good one)
750 gms chicken thigh fillets, cut into chunks
2 tbls olive oil
2 eschallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100 gms dates cut in half
1 tsp honey
½ tsp saffron strands, soaked in a little warm water
300 mls chicken stock
400 gms tin chopped tomatoes
100 gms roughly chopped dried apricots
225 gms couscous
4 tbls extra virgin olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
225 mls chicken or vegetable stock
Handful chopped parsley or coriander
Handful of flaked almonds
Heat the oven to 150 degrees C.
Place all the spices in a mortar and pestle and grind to combine, then tip half into a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss until evenly coated. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 1/2 – 1 hour.
Heat a large tagine or heavy based casserole and add half the olive oil. Tip in the chicken and cook over a fairly high heat until evenly browned, then tip onto a plate. Add the remaining olive oil to the tagine and stir in the remaining spices and the eshallots, and then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for a further couple of minutes or until the onion is softened but not browned, stirring occasionally.
Return the browned chicken pieces to the tagine with the dates, honey, saffron mixture, chicken stock and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then transfer to the oven and cook for 1 hour. Add the chopped apricots and cook a further 15 – 30 minutes until the chicken is completely tender but holding its shape and the sauce has thickened.
To make the couscous, place the couscous in a large bowl and add the oil and lemon juice. Mix well, ensuring that all the grains are coated. Heat the stock in a small pan and season generously with sea salt. Pour over the couscous, stir well, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes before gently separating the grains with a fork. The couscous can be left like this for up to 4 hours.
When ready to serve, check the seasoning and place in the microwave to reheat for a couple of minutes. Fluff with a fork. Scatter the herbs and flaked almonds just before serving.
Serve the chicken in the cooking tagine with side dishes such as Greek yoghurt, green olives, chili paste and pomegranate seeds, and with herb-scented couscous.