Isn’t that just the prettiest little jar of sunshine? Having no experience with preserved lemons, I got impatient to try them in a recipe and found just the thing in Food & Wine’s Healthy Issue -a great little iPad app. It’s hard not to go onandonandon about my iPad, so I’m going to get it out of my system. Although it wasn’t on my list Christmas list, my darling husband knew I’d love one and got it for me . . . and I have grown to love this little toy madly. (It recently made the short list of things to grab if there’s a fire.) I was a huge skeptic of tablet computers, but I keep finding more and more to love. The Food & Wine Magazine app is my newest, delightful discovery. You can only buy individual issues so far, but I just know that subscriptions will come along eventually. These electronic magazines are bright, beautiful and interactive and I love the ease of tapping a picture for the recipe.
I knew tagines were those big crockery vessels with domed lids, but I learned that Moroccan tagines are also flavorful stews made in those pots. While I do not own a tagine, my enameled iron pot worked perfectly. This recipe calls for broth or stock which you can add from a carton but, since it was the weekend and I was in a cooking mood, I went large and made my own stock. I bought a whole bird and made stock from the leftover chicken after cutting away the legs, thighs and breasts. I simmered the carcass with the onion ends and peels, a few carrots, several cloves of unpeeled garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and some thyme. After a couple of hours I had over a quart of delicious stock – more than enough for this recipe and another.
I’ve never tried Moroccan food but if this is an example of their cuisine, I’m a new fan. The stew is brothy, but hearty, with robust chunks of chicken and vegetables. The artichoke hearts are a superb addition and I’ll be adding them to other recipes. Next time, I’ll cut the chicken up before adding it back to the stew – though this presentation was unique. While editing the ingredients, I realized I used about 4 times as much turmeric as it called for . . . which explains the yellow chicken. 🙂 (oh well) I’d say I adapted this recipe, but the stock was my only personal touch. I love it just as it was written. It’s bursting with flavor and the diced, preserved lemon gives it that certain something.
I’m looking forward to using these little goodies for other dishes and just know I’m going to have fun experimenting with this new flavor. If you’ve tried preserved lemons, I’d love to hear how they were prepared and what you thought.
Chicken Tagine with Artichoke Hearts and Peas
from Food & Wine – serves 4
- One 4-pound chicken—legs separated into drumsticks and thighs, breasts halved crosswise, skin and visible fat removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium onions—1 coarsely chopped, 1 minced
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth (or make stock from the carcass of the chicken, a few veggies and some herbs)
- 6 saffron threads, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into eighths
- 1/4 preserved lemon, rind only, minced
- 1 box frozen, quartered artichoke hearts
- 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a medium, enameled cast-iron casserole, combine the chicken with the coarsely chopped onion and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, mix the saffron threads with the ginger, coriander, cumin, paprika and turmeric. Stir the spice mixture into the broth. Cover and simmer over low heat, turning the chicken pieces once, until the breast pieces are just white throughout, about 25 minutes; transfer the breast pieces to a bowl and cover. Continue to simmer the drumsticks and thighs, covered, until done, about 15 minutes longer; transfer to the bowl with the breast pieces and keep covered.
Add the minced onion, the tomatoes, preserved lemon and artichoke hearts to the casserole and simmer over moderate heat until the broth is richly flavored, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the peas. Return the chicken to the casserole and simmer gently, turning a few times, until heated through. Serve the tagine in shallow bowls.