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North African Style Chicken Tagine


Photo credit: Christina Holmes for The New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Rebecca Conroy

Today's recipe for an elegant North African stew is adapted from one by Daniel Boulud, chef/owner of the Mediterranean French restaurant Boulud Sud, in New York.

The chicken is infused with the characteristic flavors of North African cooking — cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, ginger, and cardamom — plus tomatoes, saffron and a little stock.
 
Preserved lemons and olives added at the end provide delightful "bite”. Taking the time and effort to blanch the cauliflower and tomatoes before cooking them is worth it.
 
Our pasture-raised chicken is much tastier — and healthier — than most birds on the market.

The fast-growing hybrids grown on all conventional farms — and on most organic farms — are extremely and unnaturally fatty.

Our pasture-raised poultry has 21% less fat, 30% less saturated fat, 50% more vitamin A, and 300% more omega-3s, versus either industrial chicken or standard free-range birds..

Accordingly, our chicken requires special care when cooking, to avoid drying it out. This simple recipe will keep it wonderfully moist!
 
North African Style Chicken Tagine
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes 4 servings
Ingredients

Spice mix
3½ tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ginger powder
½ tablespoon ground cardamom
2½ teaspoons ground allspice
 
Tagine
Thighs, legs, and large breast cubes from one 3-4 lb. heritage chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons spice mix (see above)
3 Roma tomatoes
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
1 large white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 pinch saffron
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium
3 tablespoons preserved lemons (2 lemons, roughly chopped)
1 cup green olives
½ bunch cilantro, leaves picked and stems discarded.
Directions

  1. Combine the spices in a dry sauté pan set over low heat, and toast them gently until they release their fragrance, 2 minutes or so. Transfer to a bowl, and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Season the chicken parts with the salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of spice mix, along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, and set a large bowl of ice water to the side. Core the tomatoes, and score an X on their bottoms. Boil the cauliflower florets in the water for 3 minutes, then submerge them in the ice water. Boil the tomatoes for 20 seconds, and chill them in the ice water as well. Remove the cauliflower when it is cold, and pat the florets dry. Peel the skin off the tomatoes, then cut them into quarters lengthwise. Trim away the seeds to make petals.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan set over medium heat, and sear the chicken in batches, starting skin-side down, until the thighs are browned. Remove the chicken to a large Dutch oven or tagine pot. Remove all but two tablespoons of the fat in pan, then return it to the heat, and brown the cauliflower and add to the chicken.
  5. Reduce heat below the pan, and add the onion, garlic, ginger and saffron. Cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and chicken stock, and simmer until reduced by 1/3.
  6. Pour sauce over the chicken and cauliflower, cover the pot and transfer to oven for 20 minutes. Remove, stir in the tomatoes, preserved lemon and olives, then cover the pot again and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve the chicken in the pot, garnished with the cilantro leaves, with couscous. Reserve remaining spice mix for the next batch or another use. It keeps well in a sealed container.

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings):
1136 calories; 83 grams fat; 19 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 41 grams monounsaturated fat; 15 grams polyunsaturated fat; 35 grams carbohydrates; 12 grams dietary fiber; 10 grams sugars; 66 grams protein; 336 milligrams cholesterol; 1023 milligrams sodium

Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

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